A world-class finish from Shota Arveladze just eight minutes from time gave the Georgian his 16th goal of the season and cut Celtic's SPL lead to eight points, but despite the result this was another uninspiring display from the misfiring Ibrox team.
With a 0-0 draw and more dropped points beginning to look inevitable Arveladze ran on to Nuno Capucho's pass and found the far corner of the net with an inch-perfect right-foot shot from 15 yards.
The home side had quickly taken control of the game despite the absence of a recognised ball winner in midfield and the visitors endured a testing first ten minutes.
Hamed Namouchi warmed the fingers of goalkeeper Gordon Marshall with a low drive from the edge of the box and Arveladze then rounded off a superb one-touch move by volleying over.
Motherwell finally settled and briefly threatened with an angled header from Paul Quinn and a long-range effort from Derek Adams.
In the 24th minute a stricter referee might have awarded Rangers a penalty when winger Peter Lovenkrands went flying at the end of a driving run.
Gers skipper Craig Moore was then required to time his challenge carefully as striker Alex Burns was about to pull the trigger. The Australian defender was involved again shortly before half time, sending a free header well over the top from Mikel Arteta's corner.
Rangers produced the best move of the entire match at the start of the second period as Arteta's sudden change of pace set up Arveladze for a crisp shot on the turn which brought the very best out of Marshall.
Home boss Alex McLeish brought on Christian Nerlinger and Michael Mols for Arteta and Bob Malcolm, but it was Motherwell who almost made the breakthrough after 67 minutes when keeper Stefan Klos had to be sharp to beat Burns to a short Henning Berg pass back.
Arveladze's quality finish ought to have calmed home nerves, yet in a jittery finale Well defender Steve Craigan wasted a decent opportunity deep into injury time.