Full Time After Extra Time This is a live match. Extra Time Half Time

Motherwell vs Rangers. Scottish Premiership.

Fir ParkAttendance8,359.

Motherwell 0

    Rangers 2

    • N Katic (27th minute)
    • A Morelos (69th minute, sent off 71st minute)

    Motherwell 0-2 Rangers: Alfredo Morelos scores and is sent off as Rangers go top

    Oliver Young-Myles

    Sunday 15 December 2019 17:45, UK

    Rangers' Alfredo Morelos is red carded by referee Don Robertson during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Motherwell
    Image: Alfredo Morelos scored and was sent off as Rangers beat Motherwell 2-0 at Fir Park

    Alfredo Morelos scored and was then sent off as Rangers went top of the Scottish Premiership - for a few hours at least - with a 2-0 victory over Motherwell at Fir Park.

    The visitors took the lead just before the half-hour mark through Nikola Katic's thumping header from a Borna Barisic corner after Motherwell goalkeeper Mark Gillespie had twice denied Morelos in quick succession.

    Rangers continued to press for the second goal after the restart and eventually doubled their lead on 69 minutes as Morelos swivelled inside the area before burying a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

    Moments later the Colombian received his marching orders from referee Don Robertson for antagonising the Motherwell supporters with his celebration but 10-man Rangers held on for a comfortable win to move top - until Celtic later saw off Hibernian by the same scoreline to return to the summit.

    Team news

    • Stephen Robinson made one change to the team that beat Hearts 1-0 last weekend with Devante Cole replacing James Scott in the starting line-up.
    • Steven Gerrard opted to name the same side that drew 1-1 with Young Boys in the Europa League on Thursday night.

    Rangers bounced back from their disappointing League Cup final defeat to Celtic last weekend by securing passage to the Europa League last 32 on Thursday night with a 1-1 draw against Young Boys but they were without a win in three heading into this game.

    Perhaps due to that run of form, Steven Gerrard's men started the game in nervy fashion and it was Motherwell who had the game's first real chance when Chris Long latched onto a Devante Cole flick-on and rounded Allan McGregor before seeing his pull-back cleared by James Tavernier.

    Rangers grew into the game after a slow start as Morelos and Ryan Kent began to find pockets of space in front of the Motherwell backline and the latter set up the former twice in a minute only for the Colombian to be denied by Gillespie.

    More on this story

    Player ratings

    Motherwell: Gillespie (8), Grimshaw (6), Gallagher (7), Mugabi (6), Carroll (6), Campbell (6), Connelly (6), Polworth (6), Cole (6), Hylton (5), Long (6)

    Subs: Scott (6), Seedorf (6), O'Hara (N/A)

    Rangers: McGregor (7), Tavernier (6), Goldson (6), Katic (7), Barisic (7), Arfield (6), Jack (7), Kamara (7), Kent (7), Aribo (7), Morelos (7)

    Subs: Polster (N/A), Defoe (N/A), Stewart (N/A)

    Man of the match: Mark Gillespie

    Gillespie's second stop from a Morelos snapshot resulted in a Rangers corner and it was from that situation that they took the lead thanks to a combination from their two Croatian defenders as Barisic's out-swinging corner was met by a powerful header from Katic for his first league goal of the campaign.

    Tensions started to bubble over towards the end of the first half and after players from both sides were involved in a confrontation in the player's tunnel, referee Don Robertson issued yellow cards to Ryan Jack and Declan Gallagher prior to the start of the second half.

    The away side continued to dominate proceedings after the restart and five minutes into the second half Gillespie was required to smother another Morelos attempt before making a fine stop to deny a fearsome Kent effort from an acute angle.

    Rangers' failure to add a second goal offered encouragement to Motherwell and they almost drew level midway through the half as McGregor was forced to make a miraculous stop to deny Long from close range after Conor Goldson had inadvertently headed a long throw into the striker's path.

    MOTHERWELL, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 15: Rangers' Alfredo Morelos celebrates his goal to make it 2-0 with his teammates during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Motherwell and Rangers at Fir Park, on December 15, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
    Image: Alfredo Morelos scored and was sent off as Rangers beat Motherwell 2-0 at Fir Park

    With just over 20 minutes remaining, though, Rangers and Morelos finally got the second goal. Joe Aribo did well to progress on the right wing before sending a low cross into the box and although Morelos' first shot was blocked by Gallagher he re-adjusted himself to fire the rebound into the net via a slight deflection from the Motherwell defender.

    Morelos' moment of joy was short-lived as he was issued a second yellow card for inciting the Motherwell supporters with his celebration and although he appeared nonplussed by the decision, Gerrard admitted afterwards he had no complaints.

    Despite having a man advantage for the final 20 minutes, Motherwell struggled to carve out too many opportunities and it was Rangers who almost grabbed the third of the match when Barisic's free-kick was wonderfully tipped onto the post by the impressive Gillespie in stoppage time.

    What the managers said

    MOTHERWELL, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 15: Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson on the touchline during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Motherwell and Rangers at Fir Park, on December 15, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
    Image: Stephen Robinson admitted that Motherwell didn't deserve to win against Rangers

    Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson: "We didn't do enough to win the game, obviously by the result. Our better players on the ball didn't really make the right decisions today.

    "Saying that we had two great chances, super chances. We went 1-0 down to a set play which was disappointing and Longy has an incredible chance at 1-0 and it's an incredible save, credit where it's due.

    "Overall, we didn't deserve anything. I don't think we needed to play that much better to get something, I don't think Rangers were at their best today. In spells we limited them, they didn't really get into any real rhythm but when we had the ball I don't think we did enough."

    MOTHERWELL, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 15:  Rangers manager Steven Gerrard at full-time of the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Motherwell and Rangers at Fir Park, on December 15, 2019, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
    Image: Steven Gerrard was pleased with Rangers' win after a 'tough week' and offered his backing to Alfredo Morelos

    Rangers boss Steven Gerrard: "It was very pleasing. We've had a tough week, mentally and physically so you were wondering what type of performance you were going to get but credit to the players I thought across the board we were really good, really organised.

    "If there's one fault I'd have it was not capitalising on some of our good play when we were 1-0 up to go and kill the game earlier. But it's an away win, a clean sheet on the back of a tough week so I'm very pleased.

    "I think he [Alfredo Morelos] was looking dangerous, he was causing their centre-backs a lot of problems, I thought he had good backup in Joe Aribo who was sensational today and I felt as if it [the goal] was going to come.

    "But unfortunately, this is probably his first minor misbehaviour since he's turned a massive corner. So that's probably the only disappointment from today.

    "We've got no complaints [with the red card]. Look, he's a human being, he's young and I must admit he's doing everything he can to improve in that area. That's probably his first setback but we'll reset him and go again and we have no complaints."

    What's next?

    Motherwell are next in action against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park next Saturday while Rangers travel to Easter Road on Friday to face Hibernian.

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