Football: Hateley's late dip into well

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The Independent Online
Motherwell. .0

Rangers. . . 4

THERE was a distinct inevitability about the evening's events, which saw Rangers stretch their unbeaten run to 38 games, equalling their own record set in the 1975-76 season. Three of Rangers' four goals came from their prolific strikeforce of Ally McCoist and Mark Hateley.

Andy Goram demonstrated the value of a proper warm-up when he made a magnificent one- handed save from a powerful Davie Cooper shot after just 30 seconds and with Motherwell exuding the confidence gained from a seven-match unbeaten run, Goram had to produce another memorable stop to deny Ally Graham, a pounds 50,000 purchase from Ayr United earlier in the day. The new boy steadied himself inside the penalty area before unleashing a thundering drive which Goram pushed on to a post.

Between times Sieb Dykstra, the Motherwell goalkeeper, dived bravely at the feet of Hateley, who ran on to a careless Luc Nijholt back-pass.

The home side's abrasive approach turned the game into something like a cup tie for Rangers, who lost their influential midfield player, Trevor Steven, after 18 minutes through injury.

Steven's replacement, Alexei Mikhailichenko, provided width on the left, and with Pieter Huistra on the right Rangers attempted to stretch a resilient home defence.

Richard Gough shot narrowly wide before Huistra found a yard outside the penalty area before shooting over the bar. Dykstra then denied the winger again and if Rangers had most of the possession, Motherwell's defending denied them many chances.

Rangers also lost their captain, Gough, through injury in the 69th minute. However, they made the breakthrough after 75 minutes through McCoist, whose glancing header went in off the post for his 42nd goal of the season. Six minutes later Hateley added the second with a tap-in from a Mikhailichenko cross.

Hateley scored his second in injury time after a scything move through the Motherwell defence and the referee's watch allowed time for a fourth Rangers goal scored by Mikhailichenko.

Motherwell: Dykstra; Nijholt, McKinnon, Martin, Philliben, Sneddon (Dolan, 83), McGrillen (Kirk, 64), Griffin, Graham, O'Donnell, Cooper.

Rangers: Goram; McCall, Robertson, Gough (Murray, 69), McPherson, Brown, Steven (Mikhailichenko, 18), Ferguson, McCoist, Hateley, Huistra.

Referee: J F McGilvray (Edinburgh).