Report: Gers v Well
Sat 12.2.2011 / 15:00
Rangers got to within two points of SPL leaders Celtic after thrashing Stuart McCall's Motherwell 6-0. It was a game with many positives. Six goals boosting the goal difference, a debut for Kyle Bartley, Nikica Jelavic hat-trick and a first goal for new striker David Healy.
Boss Walter Smith made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Celtic last week. Kyle Bartley and Vladimir Weiss came in for Maurice Edu and Jamie Ness. It was a debut for Bartley who played in a holding midfield role in front of the defence. Motherwell gave a debut to former Rangers flop striker Franny Jeffers.
Rangers got off to a flyer with a Stevie Naismith goal as early as the fifth minute after Weiss played a one-two with Jelavic and set up Naismith to fire in from close range. This was after El Hadji Diouf had a close range effort go just wide a minute or so earlier.
Rangers continued to pressure the Motherwell defence with Jelavic coming close and Vladimir Weiss being unlucky not to be awarded a penalty, but Motherwell weathered the storm and slowly began to get back into it. They had a couple of half decent chances from Jones and Sutton but neither could find the target.
Rangers then hit Motherwell with a counter attack. Jelavic grabbed his first of the afternoon after Bartley had set Whittaker free out wide. Whittaker then crossed in straight to Jelavic who converted with ease. Within minutes Rangers were 3-0 up and in total control, and it was that man Jelavic again who netted from Vladimir Weiss' free-kick.
Just when things were going well though, Rangers received a blow when forward Stevie Naismith had to go off injured after picking up a knock. He was replaced by young John Fleck who's season hasn't really got started yet. Hopefully the injury for Naismith isn't too serious and he will be fit for Sporting Lisbon.
Into the second half now and Fleck was presented with an opportunity to get his first goal of the season after he was set up by two goal Nikica Jelavic, but he headed over the bar. McGregor produced a great save from a long range Ross Forbes shot before Fleck had another opportunity to score but his shot was well saved by Randolph.
David Healy then got the opportunity to make his debut for Rangers when he replaced El Hadji Diouf. The Northern Ireland International fulfilled a lifetime ambition by making his debut for his boyhood heroes.
Rangers were in the mood for goals and came close again after Steven Davis tried a cheeky back heeler, but it was deflected wide. Rangers went 4-0 up when Hutchison put the ball in his own net from a Fleck cross. Jelavic then scored a scrappy goal to complete his hat-trick, squeezing the ball under Randolph from a Sasa Papac knock down.
Rangers were in cruise control 5-0 up but determined to catch up with Celtic's goal difference, they were not finished yet. The sixth goal was scored by debutant David Healy who converted from a Madjid Bougherra cross. Rangers now have a goal difference of +56, only 2 behind Celtic who have +58.
It was a great morale boosting victory for Rangers today ahead of some really important games to come. We now face Sporting Lisbon on Thursday followed by another Old Firm game on Sunday at Parkhead. Then of course there are games coming up in the near future against the same two teams again.
Rangers will be seeing a lot of green and white hoops in the weeks to come, and let's hope we can make them all sick.