Football: Coyne's full value

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The Independent Online
Motherwell 1

Coyne 80

Rangers 1

McCoist 20

Attendance: 12,018

Tommy Coyne's long career has had prolific written in almost every chapter, so it was little surprise that the Motherwell striker should come up with the equalising goal which stopped Rangers going back to the top of the Premier League.

The former Celtic striker's nose for a chance was enough to convince Jack Charlton to persuade Coyne to cash in on his Irish grandparents several years ago and pledge himself to the Republic rather than his native Scotland. All of which makes Mick McCarthy's decision not to use the Motherwell player last week in Brussels even more bizarre. Certainly, Coyne would have been more likely to come up with the goal that Ireland craved than David Connolly, and less likely to be sent off.

Even at 35, Coyne's instincts have not been dulled, as he proved in the 80th minute. His partner, Owen Coyle, deserves the credit, winning a lost cause against Rangers defender Joachim Bjorklund and unselfishly sending the ball across the face of the goal instead of shooting, and Coyne bundled the ball in from close range.

It cancelled out a first-half opener from Rangers' Ally McCoist and gave Motherwell a haul of four points in seven days from the Old Firm, although the win at Celtic last Saturday was achieved without Coyne, who was sitting redundant in Belgium.

Rangers did not appear to be hindered in the early stages by the absence of Paul Gascoigne - sent off against Celtic - or the injured Brian Laudrup. McCoist, pushed out by the arrival of Marco Negri, was revelling in only his fourth start of the season.

However McCoist had reason to be grateful to the Italian for laying on his goal in the 20th minute. Negri's pass was right in McCoist's stride and he held off a challenge from Kevin Christie before clipping the ball past the goalkeeper Steve Woods.

Ian Ferguson and Jorg Albertz were denied by Woods before the interval with two fine saves but those achievements were left in the shade by Andy Goram in the 59th minute. The Rangers and Scotland keeper made an astonishing one-handed save to stop Shaun McSkimming scoring with a header that looked bound for the net.