Tavernier seals win for 10-man Rangers over Motherwell to reduce gap at top | scottish premiership


A 10-man Rangers kept their Premiership title hopes alive with a battling win over Motherwell.

In a fixture brought forward 24 hours to help the Light Blues prepare for their Europa League semi-final against RB Leipzig on Thursday, the much-changed visitors took the lead in 14 minutes, although it was unclear whether the home keeper, Liam Kelly, had handled into his own net from a Connor Goldson header or whether Scott Wright got the last touch.

Rangers’ Leon Balogun was shown a red card by Nick Walsh in the 29th minute for a heavy tackle on Dean Cornelius, with Calvin Bassey immediately replacing Amad Diallo.

More trouble came for Rangers soon afterwards when a mistake by Bassey was punished by Ross Tierney when he headed in from eight yards from a Jake Carroll cross from deep on the left in the 35th minute.

There was no doubt it was Wright who drove in Rangers’ second two minutes into the second half.

Rangers’ Leon Balogun is sent off against Motherwell. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

Walsh pointed to the spot when Motherwell’s Bevis Mugabe brought down Fashion Sakala in the box and James Tavernier sent Kelly the wrong way with the spot-kick to give the visitor’s some breathing space.

With four fixtures remaining, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side are three points behind the leaders, Celtic, who play at Ross County on Sunday, before the last Old Firm fixture of the season at Parkhead next Sunday.

-Shaun Rooney scored a vital second-half header to rescue a 1-1 draw for st Johnstone with dundee at Dens Park and move Mark McGhee’s side closer to relegation. The home side took the lead after ten minutes through Jordan Marshall but Rooney, so often a scorer of vital goals, equalized after 78 minutes. Dundee sit five points adrift of Saints with four games left.

The point for St Johnstone moves them closer to St Mirren and Aberdeen in tenth place, and safety.

Goals from Nicky Devlin after 41 minutes and a Jason Holt penalty 20 minutes from full time earned Livingstone to 2-1 win against Aberdeen at Pittodrie to provide their hospitalized Livi manager David Martindale with some solace. Dons had Ross McCrorie was sent off with 12 minutes remaining and although Lewis Ferguson converted a 90th minute penalty, Aberdeen remain in ninth place following the defeat.

Euan Henderson showed a rare piece of class in a drab game with his strike after 74 minutes to bring a 1-0 victory for hibs at St Mirren.

Scott Tanser had an effort to rattle the crossbar just after going a goal-down but ultimately the Buddies could not rescue draw level. It was the fourth-straight defeat for St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson who sit level on points with Aberdeen. The win for the Edinburgh side gave interim manager David Gray his first win after replacing Shaun Maloney.

In the Championship, Queen of the South’s relegation from the Scottish championship was confirmed following their 1-1 draw at home to Ayr United.

Cove Rangers 1-0 win against Dumbarton confirmed Cove as Scottish League One champions as they lifted the trophy at the Balmoral stadium.

Their promotion continues a remarkable rise after being in the Highland league three years ago to looking forward to playing in the second tier of Scottish football next season. Mitch Megginson’s strike with 15 minutes remaining recorded his 22nd goal of the season and sealed the victory.

Cove manager Paul Hartley said afterwards: “I’m overjoyed with the emotion. The club’s been on such a magnificent journey. An unbelievable experience I’ve been on for the last three years. An amazing day. The chairman’s plan was to get to the Championship in five years and we’ve achieved that in three years.”

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Rooney rescues point for Saints to move Dundee closer to relegation

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-Shaun Rooney scored a vital second-half header to rescue a 1-1 draw for st Johnstone with dundee at Dens Park and move Mark McGhee’s side closer to relegation. The home side took the lead after ten minutes through Jordan Marshall but Rooney, so often a scorer of vital goals, equalized after 78 minutes. Dundee sit five points adrift of Saints with four games left.

The point for St Johnstone moves them closer to St Mirren and Aberdeen in tenth place, and safety.

Goals from Nicky Devlin after 41 minutes and a Jason Holt penalty 20 minutes from full time earned Livingstone to 2-1 win against Aberdeen at Pittodrie to provide their hospitalized Livi manager David Martindale with some solace. Dons had Ross McCrorie was sent off with 12 minutes remaining and although Lewis Ferguson converted a 90th minute penalty, Aberdeen remain in ninth place following the defeat.

Euan Henderson showed a rare piece of class in a drab game with his strike after 74 minutes to bring a 1-0 victory for hibs at St Mirren.

Scott Tanser had an effort to rattle the crossbar just after going a goal-down but ultimately the Buddies could not rescue draw level. It was the fourth-straight defeat for St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson who sit level on points with Aberdeen. The win for the Edinburgh side gave interim manager David Gray his first win after replacing Shaun Maloney.

In the Championship, Queen of the South’s relegation from the Scottish championship was confirmed following their 1-1 draw at home to Ayr United.

Cove Rangers 1-0 win against Dumbarton confirmed Cove as Scottish League One champions as they lifted the trophy at the Balmoral stadium.

Their promotion continues a remarkable rise after being in the Highland league three years ago to looking forward to playing in the second tier of Scottish football next season. Mitch Megginson’s strike with 15 minutes remaining recorded his 22nd goal of the season and sealed the victory.

Cove manager Paul Hartley said afterwards: “I’m overjoyed with the emotion. The club’s been on such a magnificent journey. An unbelievable experience I’ve been on for the last three years. An amazing day. The chairman’s plan was to get to the Championship in five years and we’ve achieved that in three years.”

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Van Bronckhorst told Sky Sports: “We had to adjust the game plan. We started off really well and we were in control of the game.

“With the red card, we had to switch to a different way of playing. It worked out well. You need to make sure you still create the chances and the players did what we wanted really well.”

The Motherwell manager, Graham Alexander, reflected on his side’s performance without their suspended striker Kevin van Veen. “First half, I couldn’t have been happier,” he said. “We deservedly got a great equalizer.

“Second half, we started with a passive mindset and we got punished. The game slipped away from us because it’s hard to turn that around.”

The loss means Motherwell remain in sixth place with just one league win in 2022 and they face a big game next Saturday at Dundee United, who are one point ahead in fourth.

The focus now turns to the Europa League semi-final first leg in Germany where the Rangers manager will have to come up with a plan that again does not include several of his key players including Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe and Aaron Ramsey.


www.theguardian.com

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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