Rangers v Motherwell 05.05.97
Rangers 0, Motherwell 2
Match Date : Monday 5th May 1997Competition : Premier LeagueAttendance : 50,059
1 Scott Howie 2 Eddie May 3 Iain Ross 4 Mitchell Van der Gaag 5 Brian Martin 6 Stephen McMillan 7 Micky Weir 8 Simo Valikari 9 Tommy Coyne 10 Shaun McSkimming 11 Owen Coyle 12 Alex Burns 14 Dougie Arnott 15 John Philliben
Motherwell scorer : Owen Coyle (2).
COYLE CASHES IN AS WELL SPOIL THE PARTY
Rangers 0 Motherwell 2
MAGNIFICENT MOTHERWELL powered their way to a fine two-goal victory to spoil the Rangers party-goers and give themselves a great chance of avoiding the play-off. Motherwell were up for the challenge right from the start and ended worthy winners after an intruiging 90-odd minutes.
Right from the off Motherwell pressed hard, indeed Rangers did not manage to leave their own half of the field for a full 4 minutes. Almost immediately the visitors went ahead, Eddie May’s cross was cut-out by Gough, with the return ball by Ross just evading Tommy Coyne. Hateley then fouled Valikari, and from the free-kick, Gough headed out for a corner. Brian Martin, who had a brilliant, commanding performance at the heart of the Motherwell defence with Mitchell Van Der Gaag, headed in but the ball fell awkwardly and McSkimming failed to collect. The ball was returned by Van Der Gaag, McSkimming looped in a header, and as Coyne attempted to reach the ball, he was rather unfairly penalised for a challenge on Dibble. Gough then crudely fouled Weir, but Referee Rowbotham chose to ignore. Weir picked himself up, and after a mazy run, his lay-off to Coyne resulted in a corner-kick when Gough blocked the cross. Gough headed Weir’s corner out as far as McMillan. His pass-cum-shot found Coyle, who swung first-time to send the ball under the desparing dive of Dibble to put Motherwell deservedly one ahead. Within seconds it could have been two, Weir played a great ball into McSkimming who had peeled of Gough. With time to turn and adjust, McSkimming sent a great curling shot towards the top left of the net only for Dibble to produce a breathtaking save and palm the ball over for a corner, which proved fruitless. Motherwell continued to press, Weir sending Coyne clear but his cross was well-chested by McLaren into Dibble’s hands. Bjorklund then made a great last-gasp takcle to prevent Coyle sprinting clear, then again on McSkimming as Rangers desperately tried to turn the tide. A second goal would not have been an injustive, and it almost came when Owen Coyle’s free-kick was deflected to Brian Martin at the far post. His half-volley was headed narrowly over by Tommy Coyne, the bounce proving too difficult to control. May’s throw-in was returned to the Motherwell full-back by Coyne, then crossed deep to McMillan, whose shot was nudged just wide of the post. Then a great run by Weir sent Coyne clear, and as the Irish International cut inside Bjorklund on the edge of the box he was clearly fouled, however, again Referee Rowbotham erred and waved play-on. It took Rangers a full 19 minutes to get some pressure on the Motherwell defence, though both corners were easily dealt with. Rangers almost equalised on 22, Hateley met Laudrup’s cross but his dipping header hit the bar, and at the second attempt saved by Howie on the volley. Finnish midfielder Simo Valikari could have counted himself unlucky when booked for a mis-timed tackle on Albertz sonn after. Both teams could then have scored within a minute – firstly, Laudrup’s low teasing cross was missed on the six-yard box by Gough and Durie, then McSkimming, after nutmegging McLaren, had his low shot saved when a ball to the back post would have found Coyle and Coyne free. Rangers almost gifted Motherwell a second near half-time, Dibble’s pass from defence was intercepted by Coyne, but with Weir clear to his side, Coyne chose to shoot and Dibble saved easily. A late takcle by Moore then failed to produce a card, Weir taking some time to get up. Moore again upset the Motherwell fans by body-checking Coyle but again Rowbotham chose to ignore the clear foul. As half-time approached Rangers stepped up their efforts – firstly Laudrup ran virtually unchallenged from the half-way line to the left of the Motherwell box, though his shot fell just wide of the post. Then, after Laudrup had angled a pass wide, Albertzs’ first-time shot grazed the outside of the post. An equaliser would have been an injustice at this point, and Motherwell deserved their Interval lead.
Half-Time Rangers 0 Motherwell 1
The home side signalled their intentions by bringing on controversial character Paul Gascoinge for Moore for the second half. And for the first 15 minutes or so of the half Motherwell were pressed back somewhat. After a foul by Albertz on Weir which Referee Rowbotham ignored once again, Rangers broke upfield. Laudrup then fell rather easily in the box, and much to the Home fans annoyance, Rowbotham correctly waved play-on. Gascoinge’s first real contribution nearly became his last, as he could consider himself fortunate to escape punishment after pushing Valikari in the face whilst swinging his arms wildly at the Finnish midfielder. From the free-kick Albertz tried an overhead kick but sent the effort well wide. Laudrup then latched on to an Albertz pass but Howie saved easily. Gascoigne was controlling the Rangers midfield, and his pass to Luadrup on the edge of the box allowed Durie to fire in a shot but Howie saved brilliantly at his near post. Laudrup returned the ball but Hateley headed well over. Motherwell were weathering the storm, and began to re-assert themselves in the match. Dibble just managed to clear as Coyle bore down on a backpass, and from the clearance Gascoinge weaved his way into the Motherwell box. Just as he was about to shoot, Valakari tackled brilliantly, and as he cleared Gascoigine waved frantically at the Referee attempting to claim a penalty. 12 Minutes into the second half Motherwell attacked with menace for the first time in the half. After May and McSkimming had combined, Valikari just failed to set up Coyle clear on goal. Rangers should have equalised 4 minutes later when Gascoigne was allowed an alarming amount of room at the centre of the Motherwell defence, but as Howie advanced, he somehow managed to screw the ball wide. Motherwell, realising their escape, broke upfield. From an Eddie May cross, Owen Coyle took one touch too many when in a great position and the chance was lost. It was fast becoming end-to-end, Durie ran almost the full length of the pitch, and with players backing off, he wrongly chose to lay-off to off-side Gascoinge when a shot could have brought a leveller. Gough, playing his last match at Ibrox, then missed a gilt-edged chance when set up by Duire, he sliced the ball wide from 16 yards out. Motherwell were playing the ball out of defence well, Ross making some excellant runs on the wing, and at the centre Man-of-the-Match Martin tackling brilliantly. As the second half progressed Motherwell became more prominent, with Weir troubling the Rangers defence. With 18 minutes left, Motherwell brought on Arnott for Coyne, and he almost had an instant impact. Coyle and McSkimming combined, leaving Arnott on the penalty spot with two defenders nearby. He turned, shot, but Cleland managed to block and clear. Gascoigne was then booked for lashing out at Arnott, and whilst Arnott had committed a foul, Gascoinge was extremely fortunate to remain on the park considering his earlier outburst. From the free-kick, Gascoigne swung in a ball which Hateley met full-on, only to see Howie produce a remarkable save. Laudrup then hit the by-line only for Howie to again save brilliantly from the Danes’ low cross. Motherwell, keeping possession all the more, went searching for a second to finish the match, and should have had a spot-kick when Gough climbed all over Van Der Gaag in the box. Rangers then produced a last-ditch attempt to secure the point they needed for the title, throwing on McCoist and Durrant for Albertz and Durie. However, Durrant was to be involved in the move which settled the match, though not in the way he intended. Gascoigne lost possession in midfield, and as McMillan gathered, he turned and passed to Burns. The Motherwell striker advance towards the the Rangers goal, then sent a great low cross along the edge of the box to Weir. With only Durrant to beat, the midfielder nudged the ball to Durrant’s side. The substitute then rashly challenged the Motherwell player, and a penalty was the inevitable outcome. Owen Coyle stepped up, and sent Dibble the wrong way, also sending the Motherwell support into orbit. Rangers had one more try to salvage something, Hately headed down for McCoist whose volley was brilliantly blocked by the outstanding Howie. Motherwell then played out time, keeping possession, and at full-time were worthy winners as they fully earned their party-poopers tag. The win now puts Motherwell in a great position to avoid the play-off, only needing a win at Home to Dunfermline to secure their Premier Status.
Without doubt, Brian Martin was MAN OF THE MATCH.
FULL-TIME RANGERS 0 MOTHERWELL 2