RANGERS came from two goals down to rescue a point at Fir Park as they avoided a third successive Premiership defeat.
Curtis Main and Allan Campbell put Stephen Robinson’s side in control inside the opening 17 minutes in Lanarkshire.
But a James Tavernier penalty and strike from Jamie Murphy against his former club earned the Light Blues a share of the spoils.
Boss Graeme Murty made two changes from the side that lost to Kilmarnock before the international break as Graham Dorrans made his first appearance since October and Alfredo Morleos returned in attack.
The switches should have given Rangers more attacking threat but they showed little in the final third as a series of defensive lapses put them on the back foot.
It took Motherwell just eight minutes to break the deadlock as Main fired home from the spot. The striker had beaten Bruno Alves too easily and turned the ball into the path of Chris Cadden.
Russell Martin bundled the midfielder over and referee Nick Walsh pointed to the spot. Main kept his cool, sending Wes Foderingham the wrong way to give the Steelmen a dream start.
There was no response from Rangers as they struggled to assert themselves and the confidence was flowing through Robinson’s side. With just 17 minutes on the clock, they were 2-0 up.
Main was again involved as he easily brushed James Tavernier off the ball and found Campbell as he burst into the area. His finish was clinical as he found the bottom corner and Motherwell more than merited their advantage.
As the home crowd celebrated, the away support were stunned. There was almost nothing to give them any hope of a second half rescue mission at that stage.
Trevor Carson got a strong hand to deny Murphy on the angle but the best chances continued to come Motherwell’s way.
Campbell’s pass in behind found Cadden and he was unlucky to see his effort clip the bar on the half hour mark.
And there was almost another goal for Main as he once again got the better of Bruno Alves. His shot from a tight angle was just over the bar, though, as Motherwell had to settle for a two goal lead at the break.
Rangers were rightly booed off as they made their way back to the dressing room and Murty faced one of the most important team-talks of his short managerial career.
Within eight minutes of the restart, the Light Blues were level.
Tavernier sparked the comeback as he converted from the spot after being fouled by Elliott Frear.
And Murphy then netted on his return to Fir Park to bring the Gers level. The winger drifted in from the left and his shot was just beyond the outstretched Carson and inside the post.
For the first time, it was Motherwell that were under pressure. Main almost curled home a spectacular third from the edge of the area before he blasted a free-kick high over the bar.
It was an end-to-end contest now as both sides went for the win rather than settling for a share of the spoils.
Carson made another smart stop to deny Daniel Candeias after Josh Windass capitalised on a slack pass from Main before he gathered a drive from the Englishman at the second attempt.
This was Rangers’ best spell of the game but Motherwell were still a threat and Richard Tait should have done better with a header from a Charles Dunne cross.
Fir Park was poised for a thrilling finale and Murty added Jason Cummings to the mix as he took over from the injured Windass for the closing stages.
The striker couldn’t get a strong enough connection on a weak effort in injury time before Morelos fired a shot into the near post when he had options in the middle of the area.
Rangers had a spell of pressure at the death but the points were shared at the end of an entertaining top flight clash.