Motherwell turned in a valiant display at Ibrox this afternoon, eventually going down 2-1 to Rangers.
The Well raced into a shock lead through Devante Cole before Jermain Defoe levelled things before half time. Filip Helander’s header ten minutes from time was a cruel blow as the Steelmen’s hard work earned them nothing.
Here are three things we learned.
Stephen Robinson switched it up in Govan, opting for a 3-5-2 instead of his regular 4-3-3. To his credit, the change worked really well.
It caught Rangers off guard, especially in the first half, as the Well soaked up pressure in the midfield and hit Rangers on the counter via wing-backs Liam Grimshaw and Jake Carroll.
The Well showed they can be gritty and proved that the physicality from last season can still be found within them.
Bevis Mugabi featured in the heart of Robinson’s back three and the Ugandan international excelled in this performance.
He gave Defoe no room to breathe when it was his turn to deal with him, won his aerial battles and was aggressive in his approach.
The centre-back has had to wait for his Well chance but he proved what he can bring to the table against Steven Gerrard’s side.
Cole and Long are a perfect duo
With Robinson’s formation change came a striker partnership in the form of Chris Long and Cole. It’s the first time they’ve played together in a pair and they were great.
Their roles interchanged, but collectively, they pressed the backline from one side to the other. When one had the ball, the other would run into space and try and feed from their partner’s off the ball graft.
It lead to Motherwell’s first goal and Cole’s second in Motherwell colours. If Robinson deploys this system again in the near future, he has the perfect striker combo to carry it out.