A Scott Arfield hat-trick earned Rangers the points and ended Motherwell’s attempt to make it six consecutive home wins.
However, although the Ibrox side were comfortable winners in the end, Motherwell started the better side and contributed to their own downfall with some uncharacteristic defensive lapses.
Motherwell were back along familiar lines, with Alex Gorrin replacing Carl McHugh in the middle of the park, and Mark Gillespie recovering from the leg knock which curtailed his involvement at Aberdeen in mid-week
Rangers, still with an outside chance of overtaking Celtic at the top of the table, were determined not to drop any more points in their pursuit of the league title.
Motherwell started on the front foot and the first opportunity to put the Gers’ defence under some pressure came after eight minutes. David Turnbull’s free kick caused some hesitation in the visitor’s box before Jake Hastie slashed the loose ball high over.
With ‘Well retaining possession and forcing play towards Alan McGregor’s goal, Turnbull curled a couple of tempting corners across the face of the ‘keeper’s goal but with no takers.
Then out of the blue and in their first threat on Gillespie’s goal Rangers nicked the opener after 21 minutes. Tom Aldred could only nudge Jermain Defoe’s pass into Arfield’s path who slammed the ball high past Gillespie and stun the home side.
‘Well had an immediate chance to level when Liam Grimshaw sent Hastie racing down the right only to see his low delivery across goal taken off the inrushing Gboly Ariyibi’s toes by James Tavernier.
At the other end, Defoe twisted and turned to force in a shot which was easily held by Gillespie, fully recovered from his midweek leg injury.
Hastie had another half chance blocked by Nikola Katic, before Rangers grabbed a killer second goal six minutes from half-time.
The home side tried to play the ball out from Gillespie’s box. But when Charles Dunne fed the ball to Turnbull at the corner of the box he lost possession to Daniel Candeias.
His quick pass released Arfield towards goal and the former Burnley man clipped it beyond the advancing Gillespie to leave ‘Well with an uphill task to recover the game in the second half.
Stephen Robinson resisted the temptation to make any changes at the interval as his men looked to make a game of it in the second half.
It took until 57th minute though to force a first save from McGregor who got down low to hold Hastie’s low drive after the teenager had stepped inside Flanagan.
However, two minutes later the game was over and once again the goal was self inflicted. Gillespie played the ball out only for Gorrin to give away possession. Defoe unselfishly squared the ball to Arfield who had a simple task of sliding it past Gillespie to collect his hat-trick.
After 64 minutes the ‘Well boss made a double substitution with Elliot Frear and Chirs Cadden replacing Main and Aryibi.
Another bout of indecision in the home box almost gave Rangers a fourth but Gillespie brilliantly denied Defoe.
At the other end McGregor was rarely threated and with 15 minutes remaining James Scott came on to lead the attack at the expense of Hastie.
The 18 year-old striker immediately made his presence felt in the visitor’s box but his ball across goal was blocked. Then Scott couldn’t just stretch high enough in front of goal to meet Frear’s inviting cross.
Although Motherwell tried to finish the game with a flourish, a couple of long shots from Alex Gorrin and Grimshaw which drifted off target summed up their day.