Rangers have opened up a one-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership after a 1-1 draw with Motherwell left the Steelmen still looking for a league win over the Light Blues for the first time since 2002.

With Rangers raising the league flag for the first time in a decade, it was an emotional afternoon for Gers fans but the Steelmen were more than happy to turn up and spoil their afternoon.

Both sides looked to make a game of it in the early stages, Motherwell starting brightly and trying to take the game to Rangers as Graham Alexander’s side came out trying to attack with their attacking 4-3-3.

Tony Watt must have wondered what else he had to do to score, taking advantage of poor defending by Jack Simpson before trying to round Allan McGregor, only for the keeper to get a hand to it then Connor Goldson appearing from nowhere and deny the Fir Park star.

Just a minute or two later, the ball was in the back of the net at the other end, Fashion Sakala heading home Joe Aribo’s flick-on from close range and give Rangers the lead – although he looked to be offside.

Sakala’s effort changed the entire flow of the game as Rangers suddenly started to look ruthless and the Steelmen dropped deeper and deeper, allowing the Light Blues to dictate the tempo.

The Zambian striker almost grabbed his second ten minutes after his first, bursting through the defence before his shot squirmed under Liam Kelly before being scrambled to safety by Juhani Ojala.

‘Well striker Kevin van Veen picked up a ridiculous booking as the game headed towards the break, falling to the ground in the area and being booked for simulation – although he never made any efforts to appeal for a foul.

Despite Rangers’ dominance, Motherwell were still very much alive in the game and you sensed Alexander’s side were more than happy to get to halftime only behind by one and get the chance to regroup.

 

Rangers very nearly had the ball in the back of the net two minutes after the restart, Roofe just failing to get on the end of Aribo’s pass and double the Gers’ advantage.

What had started as a 4-3-3 was rapidly becoming a 4-5-1 as Motherwell spent much of the opening spell of the second half camped in their own half of the pitch with Rangers looking hungry.

Just as the game looked to be destined to end 1-0, Motherwell grabbed an equaliser to silence Ibrox, Kaiyne Woolery taking advantage of a bursting run from Mark O’Hara and firing home.

While Motherwell probably never deserved to draw level on the flow of the game, Rangers’ defence had looked vulnerable all afternoon – Jack Simpson looking lost continually – and the Steelmen took advantage and, potentially, set up a hectic finale.

Both sides made changes going into the final 15 minutes, Rickie Lamie replacing Ojala for Motherwell while Alfredo Morelos and Juninho Bacuna came off the bench for Rangers.

Motherwell’s goal really took the wind out of Rangers’ sails though with Gerrard’s side toothless in their bid for a late winner, leaving the 50,000 home fans inside Ibrox fuming when Steven MacLean blew the full-time whistle and confirmed a share of the points.

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Simpson, Barisic, Aribo, Kamara, Davis, Roofe, Fashion Jr, Wright.

Subs: McLaughlin, Lundstram, Balogun, Morelos, Bassey, Arfield, Bacuna.

Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Mugabi, Ojala, McGinley, Grimshaw, Slattery, O’Hara, Woolery, Van Veen, Watt.

Subs: Fox, Lamie, Maguire, Amaluzor, Crawford, Donnelly, Roberts.

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