Scottish Premiership
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Motherwell 0-2 Rangers: Alfredo Morelos sent off as visitors win

By Andrew SouthwickBBC Scotland

Rangers eased aside Motherwell - and remain two points adrift of Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership - despite having Alfredo Morelos sent off for gesturing to fans after scoring.

After three games without a win, Steven Gerrard's side claimed victory to move briefly above Celtic until they beat Hibernian later on Sunday.

Nikola Katic and Morelos scored in either half, but the Colombian was shown a second yellow - and his first red card of the term - by Don Robertson in the immediate aftermath of his goal.

Morelos, who was dismissed five times last season with one later rescinded, had only been booked twice in this Premiership campaign before being cautioned for a foul on Jake Carroll 14 minutes before his sending off.

Motherwell, meanwhile, missed the chance to return to third place after a performance in which they rarely looked like taking something.

Morelos takes centre stage again

It had been the biggest week in Gerrard's Ibrox managerial career with three huge tests on three different fronts.

A place in the last 32 of the Europa League secured, but points were dropped in the title race and a cup final was lost.

Fir Park was another big obstacle against a Motherwell side that could have narrowed the gap on their opponents to four points if they could manage a first home win against them since 2002.

And the hosts threatened early, with Rangers captain James Tavernier's intervention stopping Devante Cole adding the finishing touch to Christopher Long's cut-back.

But the visitors showed little sign of weariness from Thursday's draw with Young Boys of Switzerland to get their noses in front after a spell of pressure.

Glen Kamara blasted over before Morelos twice forced fingertip saves from Motherwell goalkeeper Mark Gillespie, the second leading to a corner from which Borna Barisic picked out fellow Croat Katic. The defender proved too strong for Bevis Mugabi, shrugging him off to bullet a header home.

Alfredo Morelos was dismissed after gesturing to Motherwell fans
Alfredo Morelos was dismissed after gesturing to Motherwell fans

Colombian striker Morelos was at the centre of everything after that.

He had a strong case for a penalty when Mugabi barged into the back of him, but referee Robertson dismissed the claims.

He continued to pepper the Motherwell goal as Gillespie tipped another angled low drive away from the near post before blocking his goal-bound effort after the defence were caught napping.

Motherwell's Declan Gallagher and Rangers' Ryan Jack were shown yellow cards after a half-time confrontation, and Morelos soon received the first of his two yellows for a late challenge on Jake Carroll.

Gillespie pushed away Ryan Kent's drive, and at the other end Allan McGregor also had to produce heroics - throwing up an arm to push away Long's header from two yards out.

It was to prove a crucial moment, with Morelos making it 2-0 when he collected Aribo's cross, stepped away from Gallagher, and drove the ball into the net.

However, his final contribution was to be sent off seconds later after earning a second booking for gesturing towards the Motherwell fans during his celebrations.

There was still time left for the hosts to get themselves back in the game but they struggled to make an impact, and only a fine save from Gillespie denied Barisic a third for Rangers from a free-kick.

Nikola Katic celebrates with the Rangers bench

Man of the match - Scott Arfield

BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin at Fir Park

Rangers' goals may have been scored by defender Katic and striker Morelos, but the game was undoubtedly won by the Ibrox club's dominance in the middle of the park.

Glen Kamara must be the steal of the century at just £50,000, while Ryan Jack once again showed the form that has now brought him an international call-up. But the award goes to their team-mate Scott Arfield.

The former Falkirk and Burnley player was immense from the first whistle to the last and his tireless work which at times goes unnoticed was the mainstay in Rangers' victory.

'We were below par' - reaction

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "We're really disappointed. I think we had five or six players who were below par. We say that and we're 1-0 down at half-time to a set-play.

"There wasn't much in the game at all but did we deserve anything out of the game? No, I don't think so because we had players below par."

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: "The result is exactly what I was looking for - a strong, solid away win. We were fantastic defensively and had a good base and structure about us.

"Both Scott Arfield and Joe Aribo could be contenders for man of the match. Both were outstanding."

Line-ups

Motherwell

Formation 4-3-3

  • 20Gillespie
  • 4Grimshaw
  • 31GallagherBooked at 45mins
  • 24MugabiSubstituted forO'Haraat 79'minutes
  • 3Carroll
  • 6Campbell
  • 22DonnellyBooked at 44mins
  • 19PolworthSubstituted forSeedorfat 64'minutes
  • 44Cole
  • 9LongBooked at 83mins
  • 14HyltonSubstituted forScottat 58'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Carson
  • 2Tait
  • 5Hartley
  • 11Seedorf
  • 17Scott
  • 37MacIver
  • 52O'Hara

Rangers

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1McGregor
  • 2TavernierBooked at 79mins
  • 6Goldson
  • 19Katic
  • 31Barisic
  • 37ArfieldSubstituted forStewartat 90+2'minutes
  • 8JackBooked at 45mins
  • 18Kamara
  • 17AriboSubstituted forDefoeat 90'minutes
  • 20MorelosBooked at 70mins
  • 14KentSubstituted forPolsterat 84'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Edmundson
  • 9Defoe
  • 13Foderingham
  • 16Halliday
  • 21Barker
  • 24Stewart
  • 25Polster
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
8,359

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home8
Away16
Shots on Target
Home1
Away8
Corners
Home2
Away9
Fouls
Home12
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Motherwell 0, Rangers 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Motherwell 0, Rangers 2.

  3. Post update

    Borna Barisic (Rangers) hits the right post with a left footed shot from outside the box from a direct free kick.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Liam Donnelly (Motherwell).

  5. Post update

    Greg Stewart (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Greg Stewart replaces Scott Arfield.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Jake Carroll (Motherwell).

  8. Post update

    Scott Arfield (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Chris Long (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Jermain Defoe replaces Joe Aribo.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Scott Arfield (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Sherwin Seedorf (Motherwell).

  13. Post update

    James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Rangers. Matt Polster replaces Ryan Kent.

  15. Booking

    Chris Long (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Borna Barisic.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Liam Donnelly (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

  18. Booking

    James Tavernier (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  19. Post update

    Sherwin Seedorf (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by James Tavernier (Rangers).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic1614114893943
2Rangers16132147103741
3Aberdeen189542622432
4Motherwell1810172924531
5Kilmarnock186571721-423
6Hibernian185762731-422
7Ross County175572035-1520
8Livingston184772327-419
9St Mirren1843111527-1215
10St Johnstone163671433-1915
11Hearts172691628-1212
12Hamilton1826101631-1512
View full Scottish Premiership table

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