It was a day of mixed emotions for Lee Clark, as he was sent to the stand just 10 minutes in, watched his side come close to a remarkable comeback then revealed that Josh Magennis is staying with the club.
Clark was sent off inside 10 minutes for speaking out of turn to fourth official Gavin Ross, who had warned him about straying from his technical area.
Kilmarnock were two down after a brilliant Lionel Ainsworth goal and a terrific Marvin Johnson header, but Martin Smith pulled one back nine minutes from and they were denied a late penalty.
But the defeat was soothed by the news that the board turned down £100,000 for Magennis from Charlton Athletic.
The Rugby Park boss said: “Apparently I was sent off for foul and abusive language directed at the official, but I certainly didn’t and I refute that suggestion.
“I would have thought that early in the game a conversation with the referee would have been enough. But it wasn’t the only strange decision.
“We gave two poor goals away. We didn’t look like we had belief in the first half, but when we made the changes in the second half we had a right good go and we could have got back into the game.
“We decided we didn’t want to let Josh go and we have turned down the offer from Charlton Athletic. The board spoke to Josh during the game and he said he was more than happy to come back here and give us everything.”
Ainsworth put Well into the lead on 40 minutes with a fantastic chip over Jamie MacDonald after he had been put through by Scott MacDonald.
Then Johnson produced a great header from Chris Cadden’s cross in the first minute of the second half.
Both Ainsworth and Johnson missed good chances to put Well out of sight, then Killie grabbed a goal back when Martin Smith headed home Greg Taylor’s cross in 81 minutes.
Then, in the final minute, Killie thought they should have had a penalty when Ben Heneghan seemed to bring down Soulemayne Coulibaly, but referee Craig Thomson gave a free kick the other way.
Motherwell boss Mark McGhee reckons Johnson might just have increased his transfer value after his fourth goal of the season. But he reiterated that he is desperate to keep hold of the attacker, who was the subject of a failed bid by Oxford United earlier this week.
McGhee said: “It was another goal for Marvin and it could have been Les Ferdinand. It was a centre forward’s header – I think Kris Boyd would have been proud of it.
“He’s scoring in every game and I just hope I can hang on to him. We have our valuation of him and maybe a few more pounds might just have gone on it.
“Killie made us fight for it all the way so I’m delighted with the win. When we went two up we thought we should win the game, but when it went to 2-1 we knew they were going to bombard us, but luckily enough we held firm.
“We were under pressure for the last 15 minutes, but I felt over the piece we deserved it,” he added.
“Both Marvin and Lionel missed chances and that wasn’t good for my heart because if one of them goes in we are a lot more comfortable.”