Motherwell 0 - 2 Rangers: Match report and goal videos

Match Analysis
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Rangers started the League Cup campaign with what can only be described as a comprehensive 2-0 victory in front of 4,500 travelling fans at Fir Park.

Goals from James Tavernier and Martyn Waghorn in the second half saw Rangers over the line as they put themselves firmly in charge of the group.

Rangers went with the familiar 4-3-3 system, with Andy Halliday anchoring the midfield and the much talked about defensive pairing of Danny Wilson and Rob Kiernan at the heart of the defence.

In attack, Kenny Miller started through the middle, with McKay to his left and Waghorn to his right.

However, the first 15 minutes did not go to plan for Rangers. Too often the final pass was slack and Motherwell capitalised on it a few times. Andy Halliday had to clear Lionel Ainsworth’s effort off the line before Wes Foderingham had to pull off a superb low save to deny Marvin Johnson.

Rangers did settle and began to dominate the ball not long after. However, they seemed to be getting a lot of joy with the diagonal ball over to top to the inside-right channel. Waghorn was the main beneficiary but he saw his shot denied by the fingertips of Craig Samson.

From the resulting corner, Rangers went short and the ball found its way to an unmarked Kenny Miller at the back post, but the No.9 should have hit the target.

Waghorn, again, would be cursing his luck not long before half-time interval. His inventive volley found its way beyond Samson’s bar as the half ended goalless.

Rangers, though, would come out in the second half as a completely different animal. Only a few minutes in and a patient move ended with James Tavernier making history repeat itself.

He scored the first competitive goal at Easter Road against Hibs in the Petrofac last July and he was on hand to whip Martyn Waghorn’s pass into the top left-hand corner.

That was followed up by a spell of Rangers dominance. They kept the ball very well and moved Motherwell’s low block defence from side to side, which in turn gave McKay and Wallace space to create.

But it was the movement that caused the next chance – from the right the ball was neatly play in to Harry Forrester but the Englishman could only smack the face of the bar.

As Rangers went in search for the killer second goal Niko Kranjčar, Josh Windass, and Michael O’Halloran replaced Kenny Miller, Jason Holt and Harry Forrester.

Right away they were making positive contributions. Kranjčar went close but his fresh-air shot went wide, but he seems to already have a good understand down the left-hand side with Barrie McKay and Lee Wallace. Josh Windass came on and was direct and he nutmegged his defender before Michael O’Halloran cut in and saw shot saved by Samson, and the ball fell nicely to McKay, but he could only fire over.

Before Rangers did get that killer second, they were denied a stonewall penalty when Barrie McKay’s effort was stopped reaching the goal by Ben Heneghan. Earlier than that, Samson was lucky to still be on the pitch as he handled the ball outside the area, but Steven McLean wasn’t interested.

In injury time Waghorn would settle the game and give Rangers a winning start. He took the ball from O’Halloran before sweetly curling his effort into the bottom corner leaving Samson with no chance.

All in all, it was a good work out for the team considering it was effectively the second game of pre-season. Having said that, the same defensive frailties still exist, but some of the forward play was outstanding, especially in the second half.

It will be a much changed XI on Tuesday when Annan visit Ibrox. Getting as many players as much game time as possible will be high on the agenda.

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