Ultimately it was the Motherwell fans who departed with a warm feeling in their bellies, their team having come from behind to rack up a victory that lifts them to third in the SPFL Premiership table. Kilmarnock still wait hungrily for their first win of the campaign.
Motherwell have started the season slowly by their standards but they still head into the international break just a point behind Celtic.
They finished the match with just 10 men after Simon Ramsden picked up a second booking for a foul on Rabiu Ibrahim and had to survive a late Kilmarnock onslaught to secure the win, goalkeeper Lee Hollis making key saves from Kris Boyd and Jeroen Tesselaar.
"Lee made two fantastic saves so he earned his money today," said home manager Stuart McCall. "Over the piece I felt we did enough to win."
Kilmarnock approach the first mini-break of the season in rather less buoyant spirits. Two points from five league games is not the sort of return new manager Allan Johnston would have hoped for, although his team created several chances and might have earned at least a draw on another day.
"Individual errors are costing us dearly just now," Johnston said. "But in that second-half performance I couldn't have asked for much more from the boys. If we play like that we will win more than we lose. How we didn't get anything from the game is beyond me."
Three Motherwell players scored, but not all of them at the right end. Stephen McManus was the unfortunate figure credited with an own goal, the defender rising to nod Barry Nicholson's free-kick beyond Hollis after 17 minutes.
Motherwell were unbowed by the setback and Iain Vigurs poked an effort just wide before they equalised with 20 minutes gone.
Keith Lasley's pass sent Henri Anier scampering free and the Estonian sent his shot through Craig Samson's legs for his third goal of the season.
If the Kilmarnock defence did not look too clever in that concession, they were even less convincing at Motherwell's second goal just before half-time.
Ramsden's ball across the six-yard box was deflected to Jackson Irvine, the on-loan Celtic player. He took a fresh air swipe at it like a nervous golfer on the first tee but it trickled through to John Sutton who gratefully tucked the ball past Samson at the back post.
It was perhaps harsh on the Kilmarnock goalkeeper who had made a smart stop from Vigurs just before Sutton's goal, then kept out the Englishman's point-blank header early in the second half when a third Motherwell goal had looked inevitable.
For Kilmarnock, Nicholson should have done better than shoot straight into Hollis' arms after good work by James Fowler.
Shaun Hutchinson was grateful to see his scooped clearance only just clear his own crossbar and Boyd then screwed an effort wide of the far post.
Ramsden's dismissal gave the visitors hope but Motherwell held firm.