The Sunday Post (Dundee)
Gers leave it late to beat wilting Well
RANGERS 2 Forrester (64) Miller (90) MOTHERWELL 1 McDonald (19)
SCOTT McDONALD believes Motherwell were beaten yesterday by the Rangers’ bench.
The Aussie striker has been part of a team that has lost to both Old Firm teams in the last fortnight.
Celtic crushed the Steelmen 5-0 in a League Cup tie, but Rangers found it a lot more difficult to beat the side from Lanarkshire.
They needed a goal in injury time from Kenny Miller to take the points.
Motherwell frustrated their opponents for large parts of the game and left emptyhanded because they simply ran out of steam.
Rangers were able to bring on Croatian superstar Niko Kranjcar, while the visitors had only five youngsters sitting alongside the ring-rusty James McFadden on the bench.
Kranjcar was instrumental in both of his team’s goals.
His fitness still isn’t up to scratch but he was able to show his undoubted creativity during a 30 minute stint.
McDonald blamed himself for not clearing his lines before the winning goal, but he felt his side weren’t helped by injuries to Moult, Hammell and McHugh.
He said: “We were missing three players and any team outside of the Old Firm will suffer because of that.
“Teams like us can’t afford the bench Rangers have got. “Celtic are even more ridiculous. “Their pace and penetration gives you all sorts of problems.
“Celtic are firing on all cylinders whereas, if you asked Rangers at the moment, they would probably say they are still trying to find their feet.”
It certainly took Mark Warburton’s team some time to get going in the game.
They seemed to quickly run out of ideas after an early flurry of attacks.
Motherwell took the lead with a goal that didn’t reflect well on the Rangers’ defence.
Marvin Johnson was able to travel down the left, turn inside and cross into the danger area.
The ball took a deflection off Kiernan on the way to Scott McDonald and the forward produced a cool finish.
It was a goal that really ramped up the tension around Ibrox.
The home fans became used to watching their favourites demolishing teams in the Championship last season. That isn’t happening this term.
Joey Barton looks like a player searching for his correct role in the side.
He may think that Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is having a midlife crisis but he was at the centre of a midfield crisis during the first half of the game.
The Englishman sat in front of the back four, constantly demanding the ball and only succeeding in holding up the play.
Mark Warburton loves his team to play a fast-paced, passing game and Barton’s contribution did nothing to help that.
His floated passes to the wings are pleasing on the eye but allow the opposition time to regroup.
Motherwell were happy to sit back and deny Rangers the space to get moves going.
It was a plan that worked perfectly until tiredness set in with a quarter of the match remaining.
Barton was pushed further forward after the break and looked a greater threat to the opposition.
At times he was trying to do too much but it’s in his nature to always seek the heart of the battle. Wes Foderingham had to be sharp to push away a McDonald volley before the equaliser arrived.
Kenny Miller then raced on to a Kranjcar pass and forced a save from Samson.
Harry Forrester followed up to stroke the loose ball home.
Motherwell looked like they might escape with a point until right at the death.
Kranjcar crossed from the right, O’Halloran’s shot was blocked and Kenny Miller pounced to fire home a dramatic winner.
Afterwards, Motherwell boss Mark McGhee displayed a notebook that had “performance” written in block capitals.
He was delighted with his side’s showing and the word “point” might well have also featured but for a lack of experienced substitutes.