By Craig Rae
Rangers made it three wins in a row for the first time this season as they limped past a stubborn Motherwell side at Ibrox.
Michael Beale made two changes from the side that defeated Real Betis at Ibrox on Thursday with Cyriel Dessers and Scott Wright replacing Kemar Roofe and Thursday’s matchwinner Abdallah Sima.
The performance was flat from Rangers in the opening minutes with numerous sloppy passes being made and the team seemed to revert to the ‘Horseshoe’ playing style that was seen at the end of Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s reign at times, with cross after cross going into the box to no avail.
Motherwell were probably the better of the sides in the opening 20 minutes or so, having a couple of decent attempts on target from outside the box, but they were both saved easily by Jack Butland.
Despite the poor start, it was Rangers who took the lead in the 24th minute as a Rabbi Matondo shot deflected off Cyriel Dessers to allow the Nigerian International his first League goal of the season, it was underserved lead but a lead none the less.
Rabbi Matondo continued to look dangerous down the right-hand side but unfortunately his game was to be cut short in the 37th minute after he pulled up with an injury, John Souttar came on to replace him, moving into a back three.
It will be a sore one for the Welshman who seemed to be getting into good form before his injury.
No changes were made at half time as Rangers looked to build on their lead, the tempo started slightly faster than that of the first half and Sam Lammers had an early shot deflected against Liam Kelly to put some pressure on the Motherwell keeper.
The Dutchman came close again after some good passing play from Cifuentes and Wright released Tavernier who crossed the ball in, but Lammers could only put his effort wide.
The game continued to be a boring watch for fans as they still couldn’t work out what Beale’s system was; however, Rangers still had a couple of decent chances with Dessers and Lammers testing Liam Kelly.
More changes were to be made to try and inject a bit of a spark into the game as Jack and Sima came on to replace Dessers and Wright.
The changes failed to inspire however, and Motherwell came close to equalising when Blair Spitall’s attempt was cleared off the line by Goldson and as the full-time whistle blew it was met with a chorus of boos from the home support.
Beale “It’s well below what we expect”:
Michael Beale was unsurprisingly not happy with the performance; it’s been a tough time for the Rangers manager whose side has flattered to deceive this season.
Despite the result, it was another poor performance, and you could sense the manager’s frustration.
“From the first minute onwards, I wasn’t happy with the team today. The unforced errors with the ball are unacceptable, that performance today was a really poor one. Some of our play was so poor, in terms of performance it’s well below what we expect.
The misery of the performance was to be further compounded by the injury to Rabbi Matondo, this is another blow for the team after the injury to Tom Lawrence suffered against Betis and Beale provided the following update.
“Tom thought he had cramp; he’s went and got a scan and he’s got a problem with his scan so. Kieran will be back in the middle of the week to play at the weekend. Rabbi has taken a blow on the outside of his knee; I need to see it back but that’s the information I’ve been given.”
Despite the poor performance it is still three wins on the bounce with three clean sheets, the manager will be looking for the winning run to continue and for the performances to improve as Livingston make the trip to Govan on Wednesday with a place at Hampden up for grabs.
Rangers: Butland, Tavernier, Lundstram, Goldson, Dessers (Jack), Lammers (Roofe), Cifuentes (Rice), Matondo (Souttar), Wright (Sima), Davies, Barisic
Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Mugabi, Spittal, Slattery, Paton, Bair, Casey, McGinn, Spencer, Miller
Man of the Match: John Lundstram