Motherwell’s excellent run of form came to an abrupt end as Rangers ran out comfortable 5-0 winners at Bathgate this morning.
‘Well, who had been sitting comfortable at the top of the table, were overpowered by a much more experienced Rangers side playing at the top of their game.
Billy Kirkwood’s men came out the traps and it only took seven minutes for them to take the lead. Max Wright picked up the ball thirty yards out and smashed a curling effort at goal. Tom Bradley done well to make the initial save but the ball cruelly bounced into the net despite the best efforts of the young Welshman.
Two minutes later and Rangers doubled their advantage giving Motherwell a mountain to climb. The visitors done well to work space on the left flank but the ball towards the back post looked hopeful at best.
That was, however, until captain Ross McKinnon slipped allowing Dylan McGeough a clear shot at goal. The winger certainly wasn’t wasteful, blasting a shot that beat Bradley, despite the keeper getting a solid touch.
Rangers continued to dominate early possession and a Cole header almost made it three but for a solid save from Bradley. Down the other end, ‘Well registered their first real shot at goal when Josh Watt cut inside from the right but his shot flew over the bar and out for a goal kick.
Two minutes later, the same player again took up good position and got on the end of a deep McGachie cross from the left but his low, goal-bound looking shot was blocked by the boot of Kyle McAusland.
The next goal would be vital and it was Rangers who would get it, securing the game and killing off any chance of a Motherwell comeback. Incredibly,
it came from a Motherwell free-kick on the edge of the visitor’s box. An attempt to move the wall with a clever free-kick didn’t work out and Rangers broke at pace. Three passes later, the ball once again found McGeough in space and from twelve yards out, he blasted the ball high past Bradley leaving the Motherwell stopper with no chance.
Motherwell were shell-shocked and Young had to remove one of his strikers, Keiran McGachie, to get more numbers into the middle of the park. His replacement was Bradley Halsman.
However, it didn’t stem the flow of the Rangers attack and they added a fourth, six minutes before the interval. Gordon Dick found space on the right and his lovely ball across the face was inviting for substitute Robbie Crawford, who turned it home from almost underneath the bar.
Into the second half and Rangers continued to control the play, and almost added a fifth when Wright fired a low shot from the edge of the box that forced another good save from the Motherwell keeper.
Thirteen minutes later, it was the same story, this time Rhys McCabe was the man having a pop from distance but, despite an awkward deflection, Bradley was on hand to make the stop.
The ‘Well keeper was keeping it respectable as he pulled off another brilliant save, again from McCabe, his curling effort turned on to the bar and eventually out for a corner. However, Rangers wouldn’t be denied as the resulting kick from the quadrant wasn’t properly dealt with and Crawford was once again on hand to tuck home from close range.
Motherwell, to their credit, continued to battle on and Steve Howarth almost added his sixth of the season fourteen minutes from time. Bursting through the middle of the defence, the former Clyde man was in one-on-one with Wayne Drummond. However, the Rangers keeper wasn’t in a forgiving mood and stood up long enough to make a good save, denying ‘Well the consolation goal.
It was the last action of an otherwise forgettable afternoon for the youths who face Hearts next week, fresh from a 7-0 thrashing from Hamilton Accies.
Motherwell: Bradley, Sloan, Murray, McKinnon, Lynch, Carswell, Watt (Moore – 75mins), McGachie (Halsman – 29mins), Howarth, Pollock, Erwin (Connor – 65mins)
Subs Not Used: Muir, Griffin, Scanlan, Brown