Report: Motherwell v Rangers
Sun 26.12.2010 / 15:00
Fir Park has proved a hard place to get a result for Rangers over the past few seasons but no such problems yesterday as Rangers romped to a 4-1 boxing day victory to give the fans some festive cheer.
The result was never really in doubt and could have been even more, although there was a scare at the start of the second half when Motherwell pulled it back to 2-1 but the two goal cushion was soon restored. The result was mostly down, it has to be said, to the great performance of loan star Vladimir Weiss who had his best performance in a Rangers shirt to date. The Slovakian tore the Motherwell defence apart.
Walter Smith had brought Kyle Lafferty along to Fir Park but decided the game had came too soon for him and he was left out of the 18 man squad. Smith also had to do without James Beattie with a minor injury but he should be back for the next game. Steven Naismith was in a serious car accident on christmas day but declared himself fit.
So Smith went with McGregor in goals and a back four of Papac, Bougherra, Weir and Foster. In midfield was Naismith, McCulloch, Davis and Whittaker, with Weiss in a free role. Kenny Miller was up front as usual. The bench was made up of mainly youth players plus Webster and Alexander.
Weiss was at the centre of most things produced by Rangers, and he set up McCulloch early on for a long range effort but it went wide via a deflection. Weiss then presented McCulloch with another opportunity when he swung in a free-kick but McCulloch's header went wide.
The best chance of the half so far came shortly after when Whittaker set Miller up with a through ball but the striker's shot was saved by Randolph then a follow up header from Steven Naismith was headed onto the bar by Reynolds.
Steven Davis then tried his luck from long range but Randolph again saved well to keep the score at 0-0. Motherwell came into the game a bit more after this but Rangers soon put them on the back foot and took the lead. Bougherra on one of his runs played a neat one two with Naismith who then set up Kenny Miller who converted to keep his great goal scoring form going.
Shortly after, Weiss went on a mazy run which took him past two or three Motherwell defenders but tried to set Miller up when the better option would have been Naismith to the left. Rangers did double their lead shortly after though when Saunders headed into his own net from a Weiss free-kick. A header which he would have been proud of at the other end. Thanks very much.
Rangers lost Steven Naismith in the first half. The on form attacking midfielder was replaced by John Fleck. The commentator was guessing it was his hamstring but it may have been more likely to be groggyness after his car smash. Motherwell were also forced to make a sub after Tom Hateley fell ill and was replace by John Sutton.
Rangers sub John Fleck was inaffective although it was Motherwell sub John Sutton who put Motherwell back into the game at the start of the second half after a mix up between Bougherra and Weir let him in. The two goal lead was restored soon after though with the best goal of the game.
Vladimir Weiss, after being set up by some brilliant play from Steven Davis, danced past two Motherwell defenders before coolly slotting the ball past Randolph. Weiss was booked for his celebrations after he ran to share his joy with the Rangers fans behind the goal.
The scoring was complete after a howler by Randolph who up until this point had been having a good game in goals. Vladimir Weiss sent a dangerous cross goalwards, it looked like Randolph shoud have won it though but he misjudged it after it appeared to come off Miller's stomach, and went into the net. Miller claimed the goal to take his tally for the season to 22.
So after a fortnight without football, Rangers are back and are still two points clear with a game in hand. The day could have been a lot better had Celtic not scored two injury time goals to win 2-0 over St Johnstone but never mind.
Rangers face St Johnstone in Perth next followed by the New Year's Old Firm derby at Ibrox. Victories in these two followed by a victory in our game in hand could see us go at least eight points clear at the top. Sounds good to me. Bring on three in a row.