Kris Jack at Ibrox
Despite creating a number of excellent chances, Motherwell were forced to settle for a share of the spoils at Ibrox this afternoon.
‘Well got into good positions all throughout the match and could have gained their first win over Rangers in Govan for exactly 15 years had the right decisions been made in front of goal.
The draw capped a fine away season for The Steelmen, which contributed to the achievement of premier European football for next term.
Michael Higdon, who had all but secured the Euro dream with his winner against Hearts, missed out due to injury allowing Henrik Ojamaa to start in his place. Rangers made one change to the team that thumped Dundee United 5-0 on Wednesday with Lee McCulloch starting for Ally McCoist’s men.
Estonian Ojamaa got his first effort of the match away early on, after being played in at the edge of the box by Keith Lasley. However, his shot was too tame and too direct at Allan McGregor to open the scoring. The ever dangerous Sone Aluko then skilfully set up Lee McCulloch, but his shot was cleared by the head of Tom Hateley.
Rhys McCabe then blazed over when an opportunity arose on 13 minutes, before Aluko once again made in roads to the ‘Well goal, but his low effort was easily saved by Darren Randolph.
With neither side really gaining the upperhand, Motherwell could and should have taken the lead. Ojamaa sprung the offside trap and rounded the outcoming McGregor. His touch took him wide of goal, and with two defenders back on the line, he opted to pass to Murphy at the penalty spot instead of taking the shot on. His pass was just behind his striker partner, and the chance went begging. It was a huge let off for Rangers, but an even bigger opportunity blown for the Steelmen.
Without Higdon in attack, Motherwell looked to exploit Rangers with the pace of Murphy, Ojamaa, Law and Chris Humphrey, and the latter almost carved another opportunity for the visitors to take the lead.
His direct running took him past Carlos Bocanegra and Lee Wallace, but his low cross was ushered out by Bartley, with Murphy waiting to tuck home.
The impetus was now with the visitors, and only the linesman’s flag and some early runs prevented Motherwell from taking their chances. Neat play amongst the midfield found Murphy and Ojamaa ready to pounce on three separate occasions, but each time they were flagged offside.
As pacy as they were going forward, Motherwell needed to be resolute at the back and a great block from Stevie Hammell on the cusp of half time prevented McCulloch from making the most of a tidy ball from Aluko.
Motherwell made a really positive start to the second half and impressive Estonian Ojamaa, who had scored at Fir Park against Rangers, burst in to the box and played a ball back which Murphy dummied, but Lasley’s first time shot was straight at McGregor. Rangers had been pinned back from the start of the half, but a McCulloch header from a deep Whittaker cross, almost crept in at the back post on 53 minutes.
Motherwell’s second gilt edged chance of the match came about when Ojamaa once more played provider to Humphrey, who bore down on McGregor. The Jamaican probably should have shot, but instead chose to pass but his touch toward Murphy was cleared by Perry with the goal gaping.
Rangers broke straight up the park and when Lee Wallace burst past Shaun Hutchinson from McCulloch’s knock down, it looked like he would score. However, Darren Randolph spread himself to make a great stop at his feet, to maintain the goalless scoreline.
The visitor’s hat trick of missed opportunities was completed when Ojamaa evaded a lunge by Bocanegra to hare in to the box. This time his cut back was perfect for Tom Hateley, but the right back blasted over McGregor’s bar, when he should have at least got his effort on target. Humphrey then got in behind Bocanegra yet again, but he pulled his shit wide when he could have squared.
From there on in the game played out like an end of season match, with a weak penalty shout raised when Rangers sub Andrew Little fell when challenged at the end of the box but Lasley emerged with the ball, as referee Collum waved play on. Bocanegra volleyed over from an Edu header off a corner, before Bartley waltzed in to the box past Jennings, but fluffed his lines.
Andy Little almost snatched a win for Rangers in injury time when he got past Clancy on the edge of the box but Randolph kept him out easily.
It was to be the last action of an entertaining if otherwise goalless afternoon…
[tab:As it happened]
Alan Burrows at Ibrox
Full time – Rangers 0 Motherwell 0
90mins – 2 minutes of time to be added on here at Ibrox.
89mins – Not long to go here. Still 0-0 at the moment.
84mins – Motherwell hanging on a bit now. Low ball across the ‘Well box was begging to be slammed home but no takers for Rangers.
83mins – Bob McHugh is coming on for the Steelmen. He replaces Henrik Ojamaa who put in a right decent shift!
82mins – Attendance today is 45,962. Not too sure how many ‘Well fans – few 100 I would say.
81mins – Rangers have another wee half chance but a close-range toe-poke is saved by Randolph.
80mins – Wee chance there for Bocanegra there but his shot blasts way over. Rangers are just starting to turn the screw slightly….
75mins – Yellow card for Hutchinson for a lunge on Edu. No complaints with that one I don’t think….
68mins – Edu should score from the corner…. His header is blocked by Bedoya and Randolph gathers… Let off….
68mins – First bit of sloppy defending there gives Rangers a corner…
65mins – Rangers make a double change. Little and Bedoya on for Ness and McCabe.
65mins – Yet another chance for ‘Well. Ball slipped to Humphrey on the flank. His low shot goes just wide of the post.
63mins – Another great chance there for Motherwell. Ojamaa does brilliant on the flank. Cut back for Hateley but he blasts over…
59mins – Lee Wallace almost puts Rangers ahead with a low shot well saved by Randolph….
58mins – Another great chance for Motherwell similar to Ojamaa’s in the first half. Killer pass lets us down at last second…
53mins – Motherwell fail to get the ball clear despite a few chances to do so. Ball into the box is flicked on by McCulloch but drops wide.
51mins – Another wee half chance for ‘Well. Ojamaa’s cut back is missed by Murphy. Las picks up but low shot is saved by McGregor…
49mins – Low shot from Whittaker is comfortable enough for Randolph to grab! Still 0-0 here at the moment…
46mins – The Steelmen get us underway for the second 45. Good luck to all the ‘Well players out there. COYW!
45mins – Motherwell are back out for the second half. No changes in Claret and Amber….
HT: Harri Ojamaa is tucking in to his first ever Scotch Pie. I think it’s a culture shock for him but seems to be enjoying it…
Half Time – Rangers 0 – 0 Motherwell. Fairly even stuff in the first half. Motherwell with the best chance via Ojamaa!
43mins – Fairly even stuff at the minute. Both teams knocking it about but breaking down at final third at both ends…
35mins – Really good football from Motherwelll but a sweeping move breaks down with Murphy just offside. Still 0-0 at the moment!
29mins – Goian going off for Rangers. Looks to have picked up a knock. Ross Perry will replace him.
28mins – Shot from Murphy forces McGregor into a low save although the former Scotland U21 star was a few yards offside.
26mins – Henrik somehow manages to feed Humphrey on the flank. Low ball wins Motherwell’s first corner of the afternoon…
23mins – Interesting that ‘Well leave three men up at a Rangers corner. Barca tactics from McCall :-p Trying to force Rangers on back foot.
20mins – Clever play from Aluko on the edge of the box there but with Hammell closing the angle, the Nigerian blasts way over…
16mins -GREAT chance for Motherwell. Ojamaa rings McGregor but his cut-back for Murphy is a yard out and the chance is gone…
16mins – Hateley winds up a thunderous shot that Wallace takes square in the chest… Ouch!
15mins – Low bouncing shot from Aluko was well held by Randolph. That was a harder save than it may have looked.
13mins – Rhys McCabe tries a half volley from distance which sailed a mile wide of goal…
11mins – Motherwell are doing their best to take the sting out of the Rangers tail. Using the full park to knock the ball about,,,
8mins – Clancy is forced into giving away a corner as Aluko bursts towards the box. Randolph collects the kick when it comes in,,,
7mins – Rangers follow that up with a curling shot from Kyle Bartley that goes a yard over with Randolph at full stretch…
6mins – Down the other end, McCulloch looked as if he was going to score but his effort was blocked on route by Tom Hateley.
6mins – Wee half chance for Motherwell. Humphrey bursting forward, his pass finds Ojamaa but low shot lacks venom to trouble McGregor.
5mins – Nice wee ball into the channel for Henrik but McGregor is off his line quick to clear.
3mins – Motherwell knocking the ball about nice in the opening few minutes but nothing of note so far…
1min – And we’re off! Motherwell attacking left to right if you are looking from the Main Stand side…
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“We wanted to come here and prove why we are the best of the rest and I thought we did that.
“We saw what Rangers did to Dundee United the other night and I thought we acquitted ourselves well. It was a deserved point.”
Rangers manager Ally McCoist:
“It’s really difficult to be too critical of the players but, at the same time, you’ve got a job to do.We didn’t play well at all. We looked a little bit heavy-legged and a little bit tired.
“We had chances to win the game and possibly could have, and should have, had a penalty. It just looked like an end of season game to be quite frank.”