Rangers produced the most emphatic result of Michael Beale’s Ibrox reign to date but it wasn’t always plain sailing as the club thumped Motherwell 3-0 in the southside of Glasgow.
The Gers have now won all four of the former Steven Gerrard coach’s games in charge but despite clear shoots of improvement the Ibrox side’s often sloppy passing went unpunished by a profligate Motherwell.
That’s not to say Rangers weren’t good value for their victory – on another day an improving Ibrox side would’ve won by an even greater margin – but there continues to be a visible sluggishness from several players.
Rangers might have even been behind had Allan McGregor not rushed out to Connor Shields’ feet early in the first half, John Lundstram’s short pass heaping pressure on the Gers defence.
The keeper had to do the same in the second half and there were several turnovers in the game which went unpunished as Rangers continued to build momentum heading into a must-win clash with Old Firm rivals Celtic.
Borna Barisic showed what Rangers have been missing down the left with a genuinely world class ball on to the head of an improving Alfredo Morelos to nod Beale’s side in front.
The returning Connor Goldson would then loop a header over the shaky Liam Kelly from a corner to make it 2-0 as the club continues to feel the benefit of the return of their “captain without the armband”.
Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent – both in the middle of much contract debate – were really central to everything that Rangers done on the day and whilst there are grumbles it’s clear the team are building confidence and getting back to where we need them to be.
Malik Tillman continues to prove a solid addition to the club’s ranks and the Bayern Munich loanee added a third after the move of the game was completed following a rolled ball from the impressive Morelos.
Read the club’s official match report HERE.
Shoots of Rangers recovery as club overcome Motherwell
There was a slickness to Rangers at times and the club’s support are encouraged by what looks like some identity, courage and character returning to the team even this early in Beale’s tenure, even if this was counterbalanced with several incidences of slack possession.
Alfie might’ve even added a fourth when a looping Connor Goldson ball bounced over the Motherwell defence but saw his creative backheel effort cleared off the line, with Alex Lowry also seeing a goalbound shot cleared at 2-0.
Rabbi Matondo – who Michael Beale admitted is struggling with confidence at present – was introduced in after Alfredo Morelos went down injured and spurned one major chance to put some gloss on the victory.
Overall, the Rangers staff and support will be happy with the win over Motherwell but no-one will be under any illusions that the sloppiness needs to be eradicated against higher level opposition.
Celtic romped to a 4-0 victory away to Hibernian ahead of Monday’s Old Firm derby at Ibrox and if Rangers are as wasteful in possession on the day we might not be so lucky.
The Ibrox side are currently nine points behind their rivals in the Premiership title race and if Rangers and Michael Beale harbour any ambitions of sparking a title fight, then they simply must stop Celtic in their tracks on January 2nd.
Meanwhile, one out-of-contract Rangers star claims he would love the chance to stay at Ibrox.