First league blemish at Ibrox for van Bronckhorst
Until Sunday, the reigning champions’ problems since returning to action in January had been confined to away fixtures in which they were held to draws at Aberdeen, Ross County and Dundee United along with the 3-0 pasting they suffered at Celtic Park.
This latest slip-up was perhaps even more concerning for van Bronckhorst who had overseen victories without conceding a single goal in his previous seven league matches at Ibrox since succeeding Steven Gerrard as manager in November.
Rangers looked for all the world as if they were on their way to another win and shut-out as they dominated from the start against Motherwell and should have been out of sight by half-time, their 2-0 lead through Bevis Mugabi’s own goal and Fashion Sakala’s ninth goal of the season being scant reward for the level of control they enjoyed.
They were undone by defensive frailty after the break, Kaiyne Woolery’s pace too much for stand-in central defender John Lundstram as he set up Jordan Roberts to halve the deficit before Woolery himself managed to squeeze home a shot which Allan McGregor would have expected to save at his near post.
While Rangers may have had just cause to point out that Celtic loanee Liam Shaw was offside in the build-up to the equaliser, on a day when referee Don Robertson and his assistants certainly didn’t cover themselves in glory, they ultimately have to look at themselves in assessing why they could not see out a game in which they had 30 attempts on goal to Motherwell’s five.
Frustrating day for Morelos
The relatively subdued reaction of Alfredo Morelos when Rangers opened the scoring indicated that he had not added to his tally of 17 goals this season as he challenged with Mugabi for a Ryan Kent cross, the ball ricocheting off the Motherwell defender’s shoulder beyond the helpless Liam Kelly .
The Colombian striker continued to be frustrated in his efforts to get on the scoresheet, his exasperation getting the better of him when he was booked for dissent after one of two second half headers beyond Kelly which were ruled offside.
Steelmen eyeing top six
Despite being without a league win since the winter break, Motherwell are firmly in contention for a top six place and a shot at European qualification. This gutsy point, inspired by goalkeeper Kelly at one end and speed machine Woolery at the other, saw them edge into sixth position where they are level on points with both Hibs and Dundee United.
Rangers (4-3-3): McGregor 6, Tavernier 7, Goldson 6, Lundstram 6, Bassey 6; Arfield 7, Kamara 6, Aribo 7; Sakala 7 (Roofe 83), Morelos 7, Kent 7. Subs not used: McLaughlin, Diallo, Sands, Zukowski, Wright, Balogun, Barisic, Lowry.
Motherwell (4-3-3): Kelly 8, O’Donnell 6, Mugabi 7, Lamie 7, Carroll 6; Cornelius 7, O’Hara 5 (Shaw 46 6), Donnelly 6; Tierney 5 (Amaluzor 46 6) (Solholm 83), Woolery 8 (Hopefully 90+3), Efford 5 (Roberts 46 6). Subs not used: Morrison, Slattery, Goss, Shields.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.