Rangers needed a second-half equaliser at Ibrox to salvage a point against Motherwell after trailing the visitors for almost an hour. Pedro Caixinha had fans scratching their head at half-time with his substitutions but will feel vindicated after seeing a much-improved performance in the second half after a lacklustre opening 45.
Motherwell took an early lead through Louis Moult after the Steelmen capitalised on some woeful defending at a corner kick. With no-one marking the prolific marksman he headed beyond the flat-footed Foderingham to silence Ibrox with only three minutes played.
The visitors kept the pressure on and were looking more likely to score before Rangers had a shout for a penalty when Waghorn was tripped by Samson as he charged at goal. Referee Steven McLean didn’t see any contact and, rightly, booked Waghorn for simulation.
McLean was at the centre of more controversy just after half and hour into the game when Stephen Pearson avoided a red card for a horrific lunge at Jon Toral in the middle of the park.
Martyn Waghorn had Rangers’ best chance of the opening 45 minutes when Barrie McKay picked him out with a lovely low ball before the Englishman turned and had a shot at goal but it went inches wide of Samson’s back post.
At the break, Pedro Caixinha shocked everyone by making three changes and leaving only one defender on the pitch. Lee Wallace, Clint Hill and Lee Hodson all made way with Andy Halliday, Michael O’Halloran and Joe Garner replacing them.
The changes seemed to give Rangers renewed impetus and the Gers started the second half on the front foot as they tried to find an equaliser in the early part. Joe Garner, in particular, had a couple of chances early but Craig Samson was more than capable of keeping them out and maintaining his side’s lead.
Just after the hour, however, Rangers gave themselves a lifeline as Joe Garner grabbed his eighth goal of the season. A deep cross from Kenny Miller found the Englishman at the back post and he managed to squeeze a fantastic finish in at the back post. The ex-Preston man had caused all sorts of trouble for the ‘Well defence after coming off the bench and showed fantastic determination to win the ball at Samson’s back post to level the score.
The game had burst into life and neither side looked prepared to settle for a draw. Rangers were pushing men forward at every opportunity and Garner was causing trouble throughout for the Steelmen while the visitors also tried to grab a second goal and pushed forward trying to exploit Rangers’ makeshift defence. A world-class double save from Wes Foderingham kept Rangers level as he saved low before showing incredible reflexes to palm the ball clear as it looked destined for the top corner.
Rangers kept pushing until the last minutes and Emerson Hyndman and Joe Garner both had half chances late on but couldn't find a way through Samson as the clock ticked down to full time and a share of the spoils.
Rangers: Foderingham, Hodson (O’Halloran 46’), Hill (Garner 46’), Kiernan, Wallace (Halliday 46’), Holt, HyndmanToral, McKay, Waghorn, Miller
Subs: Alnwick, Dodoo, Senderos, Windass
Goals: Garner 61’
Motherwell: Samson, Hammill, Heneghan, McHugh, Moult (Ainsworth 79’), Bowman (Blyth 75’), Cadden, Pearson, Frear, Clay (Lasley 49’), McDonald
Subs: Griffiths, Jules, McMillan, Gordon
Goals: Moult 3’