Football: Goram's return ruined by Wallace

Rangers 2 Wallace 31, Johansson 59 Motherwell 1 Gower 68 Half- time: 1-0 Attendance: 49,483
Click to follow
The Independent Online
LOOKS ARE deceptive, as Motherwell found out. They convinced themselves for an hour that Rangers were as good as the lead Rod Wallace and Jonatan Johansson had given them.

The attitude changed once Pat Nevin arrived for final half-hour, but while the deficit was just beyond them, Rangers' nervy finale indicates they are far from invincible.

Andy Goram's return to Ibrox, where he was the cornerstone of Rangers' success during his eight years here, saw the opposition goalkeeper hailed by the home crowd like a conquering hero.

Goram had a magnetic attraction for the ball during the opening half- hour. The former Scotland goalkeeper should have been beaten by Johansson after just six minutes. The Finnish striker wriggled past a weak tackle but squeezed his shot wide under pressure.

Four minutes later, Neil McCann came even closer. A long diagonal ball from Lorenzo Amoruso reached him on the left side of the area, and the winger tried a lob which arced over Goram but bounced the wrong side of the far post.

However, if anyone thought that Goram is contemplating the twilight of his career, they were proved wrong in the 28th minute with an incredible save. Giovanni van Bronckhorst's left-foot volley seemed destined to emulate his clutch of spectacular goals this season, but Goram got a hand to the stinging shot to turn the ball on to the post before it bounced clear.

It was going to take something special to beat Goram, and Wallace provided it three minutes later. Kanchelskis's run down the right pre-empted a lovely cutback and Wallace swept in a fierce right-foot shot for his 24th goal of the season.

However, Rangers dragged the game down to walking pace, especially after half-time, and Amoruso's sloppy mistake almost allowed Lee McCulloch to embarrass Stefan Klos.

The good side of Amoruso's game emerged in the 59th minute when his superb long ball released Johansson, who brought the ball down on the run and poked it past Goram, but the keeper got a touch to take it wide of the post. Goram touched van Bronckhorst's corner over the bar, but his defence buckled when Jorg Albertz swung over another corner.

Sergio Porrini's header was kept out by Goram, but the loose ball was bundled in by Johansson from a yard for his 16th of the season.

Motherwell threw on their player-chief executive, Nevin, and the former Scotland winger quickly showed that his desk job has not atrophied his skill. The 69th-minute twist and turn was reminiscent of his Chelsea days, and the perfect cross picked out Mark Gower, on loan from Spurs, to head past Klos.