Sunday, April 4
Today’s result: Motherwell 0, Rangers 1
We were rather unfortunate to take nothing from a match which was spoilt somewhat by high winds, a poor playing surface and card-happy refereeing. We were easily the better team in the first half and created several good chances, but unfortunately could not capitalise on any of them and were left frustrated when Hughes scored what proved to be the winning goal for Rangers on the stoke of half time.
Terry Butcher made a couple of changes to his team, with an off-form David Clarkson dropping to the bench and Keith Lasley missing from the squad altogether, presumably injured. In their place came Steven Craig and Phil O’Donnell respectively.
Motherwell dominated the opening proceedings, and Rangers’ goalkeeper Klos was called into action to thwart efforts from McDonald (twice) and Craig. Paul Quinn looked to have opened the scoring when he rose to head a Dair corner towards goal, but Klos somehow managed to get his fingertips to the ball and keep it out. Then Stevie Hammell had an effort which went just over, but completely against the run of play Rangers then took the lead when Hammell lost possession and Mols set up Hughes to score with a trundling cross/shot from a tight angle. Up until that point the visitors had rarely been seen as an attacking force, but at half time we found ourselves undeservedly a goal behind.
The second half was a bit of an anti-climax, with the match turning into a bad tempered affair with very few goalscoring opportunities. Unbelievably, Rangers’ Frank de Boer somehow stayed on the pitch despite grabbing Alex Burns by the throat, but this was just one of several curious decisions made by referee John Bowbotham. Sadly, this incident resulted in a coin being thrown at de Boer from a fan in the East Stand, something we could well do without.
For the second successive game we have come away empty handed when a point was the least that we deserved, but unfortunately we seem to be going through a period when the breaks just aren’t going for us. We performed well today despite the absence of the majority of our first choice midfield (Lasley, Leitch and Adams), but sadly our finishing let us down and subsequently we let one of the worst Rangers teams in recent memory off the hook.
Team (4-4-2): Marshall, Quinn, Craigan, Corrigan, Hammell, Craig, Dair, O’Donnell, Fagan, Burns, McDonald (Clarkson 59).
Subs not used: Corr, Kevin McDonald, Kinniburgh, Wright
Booked: Dair, O’Donnell, Craig
The Under-21s lost 2-1 to their Kilmarnock counterparts at Rugby Park on Wednesday, with our goal coming from Phil O’Donnell.
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