Motherwell v Rangers preview: Stephen Robinson backs Well to upset the odds and inflict Steven Gerrard's first defeat
Last Updated: 26/08/18 5:12pm
Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson has backed his side to upset the odds against Rangers when they meet on Sunday.
The Gers have two wins from three after a summer of spending and the appointment of former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard, but Robinson believes his side can spring a surprise and inflict the Liverpudlian's first defeat as a manager.
He told the club's official website: "There's good spirits around the place after a win, and we've prepared well this week.
"If we lose, there's a steely determination about our players. They don't want to let me down and they don't want to let the fans down."
Gerrard was caught up in a row he may not have expected this week involving Motherwell captain Peter Hartley and former Rangers player Fabio Cardoso, after the former said it had been fun to watch the Portuguese defender "weeping" after breaking his nose when the two sides met at Hampden Park in October.
Hartley has since apologised for his actions, and Gerrard said: "We accept the apology. I spoke to Steve (Robinson) this morning. The kid has been naive, he's got it badly wrong.
"But to be fair he has been sharp to retract the comments and issue an apology.
"Steve has been on this morning, we've had a conversation and I think it's important now that we focus on the football. There's an exciting game to play on Sunday for both teams and I think we need to put that to bed.
"We accept the apology, we forgive and we move on."
Lassana Coulibaly will again miss out for Rangers on Sunday.
The midfielder has not featured since sustaining a thigh strain against St Mirren and Gerrard admits he is not yet ready to return.
Ross McCrorie also sits out the Fir Park trip through suspension but Borna Barisic returns after being ineligible for Thursday's Europa League tie with Ufa. Jamie Murphy, Graham Dorrans (both knee) and Jordan Rossiter (ankle) remain on the sidelines.
Craig Tanner (knee) and Charles Dunne (groin) remain absent for Motherwell, with only the latter expected to play again in the near future.
- Motherwell are winless in their previous 40 matches against Rangers in the Scottish Premiership (D11 L29) since a 1-0 win on Boxing Day in 2002. This run is the longest ever winless run for one team against another in the competition's history.
- Rangers have only failed to score in one of their previous 17 top-flight matches against Motherwell (0-0 in May 2012), netting 48 goals in this time (2.8 per game).
- Motherwell have lost both of their opening two league games of the season for the second successive campaign having not done so in any of the eight seasons prior to that.
- Rangers are winless in their last five-way games in the league (D4 L1); only once before have they gone on a longer run without a win on their travels in the Scottish Premiership (seven games between August and November 2005).
- Rangers have had a man sent off in both of their league matches at the start of the season; they are the only side to have received a red card in the competition so far.