Scottish Premiership

Motherwell 1-2 Rangers

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland at Fir Park

Graham Dorrans scored twice as Rangers began their Scottish Premiership campaign with victory at Motherwell.

The visitors made the perfect start when Dorrans' drive deflected in off Ben Heneghan in the fourth minute.

The impressive Josh Windass hit the post and bar, but Motherwell responded and Heneghan headed in at the far post.

Louis Moult's careless elbow on Fabio Cardoso allowed Dorrans to convert the penalty, but Ryan Bowman and Alex Fisher missed chances to equalise.

The hosts remain without a league victory against Rangers since Boxing Day 2002, that sorry sequence now extending to 38 matches.

Graham Dorrans' shot is deflected in off Ben Heneghan for the opening goal
Dorrans sees his shot deflect off Ben Henghan for the opening goal

In what was an engrossing game, Rangers had a dream start when they scored after only four minutes. Bruno Alves crossed deftly for Kenny Miller, who headed it down for Dorrans, making his league debut for Pedro Caixinha's men, to drive home his first of the day.

Motherwell were a calamity at the back last season, conceding more goals than any other team bar relegated Inverness. They had to hang on to avoid going another one behind in the early minutes at Fir Park.

Rangers were full of running, repeatedly got in behind their hosts and threatened every time they poured forward, which was often.

Windass was terrific on the left. Motherwell didn't have a notion what to do about him. In the 20th minute he scampered free, beat a couple of men and curled a gorgeous shot on to Trevor Carson's post. Later, he saw another wonderful effort come slapping back off the crossbar.

By then, of course, Motherwell were level. This was a regular feature of Rangers' season last time around, an inability to force home their superiority and convert it into goals.

Ben Heneghan dives forward to head home Motherwell's equaliser
Heneghan showed desire to get ahead of the Rangers defence and head in the equaliser

They had other chances but what they also had was a vulnerability down both flanks, particularly on their right where Lee Hodson toiled in the face of Elliott Frear.

Motherwell weathered the Rangers storm and started building their confidence. Moult volleyed one over, then Craig Tanner slid a half-chance wide.

The equaliser came just before the break when Alves conceded a needless free-kick which Tanner put in the box.

Rangers were all over the place in trying to deal with it. Wes Foderingham stood rooted to his line. None of his defenders took charge either. It was Heneghan's desire and desperation to get to the ball that counted, the big defender getting enough on a diving header to beat Foderingham.

In the midst of all of this Motherwell had a shout for a penalty when a Frear cross looked to come off Hodson's arm.

Graham Dorrans scores
Dorrans sealed the win with a second-half penalty

A penalty was awarded, but it didn't go to the hosts, it went to the visitors when Cardoso was elbowed in the side of the neck by Moult. Referee Bobby Madden was emphatic in pointing to the spot - and he was right. Dorrans took the penalty and he got it right, too.

Motherwell were always in this, though. Rangers' slackness in possession and frailty in defence guaranteed it.

From a Cadden delivery from the right, Bowman came painfully close to levelling it again. With four minutes left, Rangers had to scramble again when Fisher pounced on a loose ball just outside the six-yard box only to see his shot deflect away for a corner off Foderingham. It was a glorious chance.

Rangers saw it out for a hard-fought and desperately needed win. For Pedro Caixinha, relief that they didn't buckle in the end-game. For Stephen Robinson, frustration but also some optimism. Fine game, fine margin.



  • 1Carson
  • 2TaitBooked at 90mins
  • 4HeneghanBooked at 78mins
  • 21Kipre
  • 18DunneBooked at 49mins
  • 7Cadden
  • 15RoseSubstituted forNewellat 79'minutes
  • 8McHugh
  • 11FrearSubstituted forBowmanat 65'minutes
  • 27Tanner
  • 9MoultBooked at 58minsSubstituted forFisherat 73'minutes


  • 12Bowman
  • 13Griffiths
  • 14Plummer
  • 17Fisher
  • 22Campbell
  • 24Newell
  • 25McMillan


  • 1Foderingham
  • 17HodsonSubstituted forTavernierat 62'minutes
  • 4CardosoBooked at 68mins
  • 22Bruno Alves
  • 5Wallace
  • 21Candeias
  • 8Jack
  • 10DorransBooked at 79mins
  • 11Windass
  • 9MillerSubstituted forWilsonat 77'minutes
  • 15HerreraSubstituted forMorelosat 83'minutes


  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Wilson
  • 7Dálcio
  • 20Morelos
  • 23Holt
  • 25Alnwick
  • 27Peña
Bobby Madden

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamRangers
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Motherwell 1, Rangers 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Motherwell 1, Rangers 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

  4. Booking

    Richard Tait (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Richard Tait (Motherwell).

  6. Post update

    Josh Windass (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Cedric Kipre (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ben Heneghan (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is too high.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Fábio Cardoso.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Fábio Cardoso.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alex Fisher (Motherwell) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Fábio Cardoso.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Wes Foderingham.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Alex Fisher (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  16. Post update

    Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Cedric Kipre (Motherwell).

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Alfredo Morelos replaces Eduardo Herrera.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

  20. Booking

    Graham Dorrans (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

As It Stood

3Ross County11002113
4St Johnstone11002113
11Partick Thistle100113-20
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