Rangers needed two late goals to see off the Steelmen at Ibrox in a tense Scottish Cup tie at Ibrox this afternoon. The Light Blues dominated the play but made heavy work of the fixture before eventually sealing their place in the next round.
The opening 15 minutes saw the hosts control the tempo of the game as they looked for an early opener. Barrie McKay and Michael O’Halloran caused all sorts of problems down the flanks but a combination of luck and some decent defending stopped the Rangers frontline from really testing Samson in the Motherwell goal.
Kenny Miller almost broke the dealock on the 20th minute when his looping header beat everyone but bounced off the top of the crossbar and away to safety. Warburton’s side kept probing the Motherwell defence looking to open the scoring but the Steelmen defence comfortably dealt with anything throw at them.
Just over five minutes before half-time Rangers had a strong shout for a penalty when Michael O’Halloran jinked his way through several Motherwell defenders before being tripped in the box by Steven Hammell. Craig Thomson, despite having a clear view, inexplicably waved away the protests.
The second half started off with more of the same as Rangers comfortably retained possession without ever really threatening Craig Samson’s goal. Barrie McKay and O’Halloran both got in behind the Motherwell defence but only managed to find the opposition with any cross.
Just after the hour mark debutant Jon Toral was withdrawn, making way for Josh Windass, and the Spaniard will have pleased his manager in his competitive bow. An intelligent, creative midfielder the Arsenal loanee might just give Rangers the creative spark they’ve lacked in the first half of the season.
Substitute Josh Windass was next to go close for Rangers when, after picking the ball up 40 yards from goal and driving forward, he played a one-two with O’Halloran but pulled his shot just wide of the post.
Despite Rangers’ dominance Motherwell then took an unexpected lead when Louis Moult headed home from Chris Cadden’s cross. Rob Kiernan was caught under the ball and Moult powered an unstoppable header into the top corner.
Rangers quickly responded though when Martyn Waghorn received the ball 30 yards out and played a beautiful cross in towards the penalty spot and Kenny Miller was first to respond, firing a brillaint header past the out-stretched Samson to level the scoreline.
With the last few minutes ticking away Miller grabbed a second. A slack pass from the Motherwell defence was intercepted by Hyndman who played an immediate pass to Miller and the veteran forward drove forward before sliding the ball under Samson.