Christian Ramirez evoked memories of John Hewitt’s fastest-ever Scottish Cup goal at the same stadium with the opener after three minutes. That is where the similarities ended. The current team do not even share many traits with sides from recent years.
Be hard to beat was Derek McInnes’ mantra. This was Aberdeen’s 11th defeat in 15 away games. Perhaps crucially, it took place in front of chairman Dave Cormack.
How he reacts remains to be seen. The loss certainly seemed to represent a tipping point for many supporters. Now deprived of the prospect of a Hampden visit, what is left of the season does not hold much appeal. Ninth-placed Aberdeen’s league season resumes on Tuesday when they host bottom club St Johnstone. Defeat is unthinkable.
No Aberdeen fan wanted to see goalkeeper Gary Woods’ desperate dash up the park to try and get on the end of a corner in the dying seconds though it did almost prompt enough chaos for the visitors to force an undeserved equaliser.
Christian Ramirez remains the one Aberdeen player absolved of criticism from fans. He almost kept his side in the cup for at least 30 more minutes after the ball dropped to him. His attempt to curl the ball into the corner and score his second of the afternoon was thwarted by a brilliant save from Liam Kelly.
It was notable that Ramirez was feted by the visiting fans as he left the pitch at the end. The same could not be said of his teammates and under pressure manager Stephen Glass, who ran a veritable gauntlet.
The current arrangement for visiting teams at Fir Park meant it proved particularly uncomfortable for Glass and all the players bar Ramirez as they made their way up the steps to the temporary away dressing room in the away stand. Fans made their unhappiness known at the end of both halves.
Even with the advantage of that early lead, secured from a fine Ramirez header, Aberdeen began capitulating worryingly early. Indeed, even in the three minutes it took for them to edge ahead, they had nearly fallen behind. The visitors survived after a tight offside call saw Joe Efford's calm finish after a couple of minutes ruled out.
Whatever troubles are befalling Aberdeen this season, Ramirez remains a shining light. His fine header from Ross McCrorie’s cross was his 15th goal of the campaign. It should have given Aberdeen a springboard and they were inches away from going two in front shortly afterwards when a lob from their American striker drifted just wide.
They barely created another chance until two long range efforts from Lewis Ferguson and substitute Connor Barron flashed past near the end, before Ramirez’s last-gasp opportunity.
Motherwell coped with the conditions better on an afternoon of rain, sleet and, briefly, sun. They deservedly drew level ten minutes before half-time after Aberdeen gave the ball away near their own corner flag. Efford fed Kevin Van Veen and his shot from the edge of the box found the top corner via a slight deflection off David Bates.
The Dutch striker celebrated only after making a beeline towards former Motherwell defender Declan Gallagher.
It was that kind of cup tie. Needly, not often very pretty but highly watchable. Motherwell took the lead in first-half injury time when Connor Shields drove home from four yards after a stramash in the goalmouth. This realisation that it should have been a far more handsome victory for the hosts made events even harder to accept for the angry Aberdeen supporters.