Wallace 16, Albertz pen 90
JORG ALBERTZ is in danger of being dubbed the Late Prince Albertz if he keeps up this sort of stuff.
The man who made a fine art out of rescuing Rangers last season with a flurry of last-minute winners, left it even later to decide this encounter. His controversial injury-time penalty secured three precious points for Dick Advocaat's team.
The German international remained oblivious to the furious Motherwell protests which greeted the 90th-minute award when Albertz's corner was judged by the referee, George Simpson, to have been handled by one of a clutch of players. Few could identify the culprit, although Motherwell's Finnish midfielder Kai Nyyssonen was shown the yellow card.
Albertz is known as The Hammer for the way his long-range free-kicks terrorise defences and the easier job from 12 yards proved no barrier to the man who scored 15 times last season, coolly slotting his spot-kick past the goalkeeper Steve Woods.
It was a blow to Motherwell, who looked like escaping with a draw after Owen Coyle's fine equaliser cancelled out the early lead Rod Wallace had given Rangers.
Later, Motherwell's Finnish manager, Harri Kampman, tried to defend his compatriot. "He said he was pushed in the back by a Rangers player and forced into the path of the ball," Kampman explained.
"I thought we deserved something from the game but then it is difficult when you compare the teams. Mr Advocaat buys his toys from Harrods, I get mine from the corner shop."
Kampman earns full marks for accuracy. Both he and Advocaat have indulged in wholesale change over the summer, but in differing ways. The Rangers manager spent pounds 30m on new players, while Motherwell's 13 new recruits, from Holland, Finland and even Old Trafford - their captain Brian McClair - would not pay the VAT on Colin Hendry's pounds 4.5m transfer to Ibrox.
Hendry made his debut following his move from Blackburn Rovers, as did Lionel Charbonnier, a goalkeeper who was a member of France's victorious World Cup squad, but there was little to ruffle his trademark blond barnet.
Motherwell played with only Coyle up front, trying to hit on the break, and Hendry said later: "Games like that are few and far between in England - I never had to defend at all."
Rangers seemed as if they would reduce Motherwell to pulp after Wallace produced a fine 14th-minute header to score his third goal for his new club. Arthur Numan's run down the left was matched by a flawless cross and the little former Leeds striker netted a header.
However, wasteful shooting by Andrei Kanchelskis stopped the lead being increased and Rangers were made to pay when Coyle levelled the scores six minutes after the interval. A fine pass down the right was missed by Lorenzo Amoruso, the Rangers captain. Coyle collected the ball and sped away from the Italian before clipping a fine shot past Charbonnier.
But Albertz had the final word and Motherwell were left speechless.Reuse content