Four-star Gers hit back to sink Well

Nick Blackman gave the visitors the lead just before half-time but

the champions hit back through Steven Naismith, Steven Davis, Kenny

Miller and Vladimir Weiss in a blistering second-half spell. The

victory allowed Rangers to maintain their 100% record ahead of next

week’s Old Firm derby and also pile the pressure on Celtic ahead of

their clash with Dundee United tomorrow. Neil Alexander made his

first SPL start of the season for Rangers, in place of the

suspended Allan McGregor, who was controversially handed a

retrospective ban following an incident against Aberdeen. Walter

Smith’s men were also without the injured Lee McCulloch for the

visit of high-flying Motherwell. Rangers started well and could

have taken an early lead when Naismith tried his luck from the edge

of the area and his shot took a massive deflection that saw the

effort fall just wide of the post. Steven Whittaker was then not

too far away with an angled drive that dipped just over the

crossbar, as the Scottish champions continued to pile on the

pressure. Weiss also had a decent chance when he did well to hold

off three Motherwell players before unleashing a shot from 20 yards

that had just too much height on it. At the other end, Blackman

tried to give Motherwell the lead with a shot from distance that

failed to trouble Alexander in the Rangers goal. Darren Randolph

was called into action for the visitors when he blocked from

Whittaker at the near post before the Rangers full-back nodded over

from the rebound. Motherwell were looking dangerous in flashes and

Alexander had to be alert to intercept a Chris Humphrey cross

before John Sutton could connect in front of goal. It was the

visitors who took the lead a minute before the break when Steven

Jennings delivered a cross from the left and Blackman nodded home

in off the underside of the bar. Rangers were back on level terms

just two minutes after the restart. Kyle Lafferty slipped a pass

through to Naismith, who managed to bundle over the line despite

the best efforts of Randolph trying to smother at his feet.

Naismith could have claimed a second just moments later, when Weiss

attempted to pick him out with a long ball but the goalkeeper raced

off his line to block before he could shoot. The home side took the

lead with 63 minutes gone. Davis collected from Naismith before

surging into the box and lashing high into the net, leaving

Randolph with no chance. The champions then claimed their third of

the day a minute later, Naismith providing the delivery from the

left and Miller directing a low header into the back of the net.

Motherwell were left reeling as the goals continued to come, this

time Weiss raced on to a Lafferty pass and rounded the goalkeeper

before slotting home after 66 minutes. With little hope of a

comeback from Motherwell, Rangers were able to withdraw goalscorers

Miller and Weiss and throw youngsters Rory Loy and Gregg Wylde into

the action late on. Wylde delivered a great ball into the box but

there were no takers in the goalmouth to claim Rangers’ fifth of

the day and Mark Reynolds was able to clear the danger. Another

young player, Kyle Hutton, came off the bench as Rangers cruised to

victory in the end, providing a boost ahead of the visit of

Valencia in the Champions League.