RANGERS eased rather than marched into the quarter-final stages of the Tennents Scottish Cup last night by overcoming a Motherwell side that left its fight at Fir Park after Saturday's game finished 2-2.
Without ever reaching a high level of performance Rangers did enough to secure their passage towards a home tie with Dundee and Walter Smith, their manager, could afford the luxury of introducing Sebastian Rozental to first-team action for the first time in a year.
By then, the 86th minute, Rangers were 3-0 ahead and had the tie won. In reality the game had been decided as early as the 38th minute when Gordon Durie shot home off a post to give Rangers their second goal in the space of two minutes. The first goal was a powerful drive by Jorg Albertz following a diagonal ball from Ian Ferguson. The German midfielder did not have to break stride as he slammed a powerful drive past Steve Woods, the Motherwell goalkeeper.
Before then Owen Coyle, the Motherwell striker, had passed up a wonderful opportunity when a short pass back by Richard Gough fell to his feet but he could only shoot against the on-rushing Andy Goram.
Rangers were denied penalty claims in the 21st minute when a Durie header appeared to strike the hand of Kevin Christie and minutes later Durie was crowded out by Brian Martin as he was on the point of shooting.
With their 2-0 cushion Rangers could afford to settle in to the second half and allow Motherwell to chase the game, but increasingly the visitors' attacks carried less menace, while Rangers pushed forward looking for a decisive third goal.
That came in the 86th minute, again from the boot of Albertz, who was well-placed to rifle a low shot past Woods after a fine through ball from Stuart McCall.
The quality of the talent on the Rangers bench, with McCall, Paul Gascoigne and Rozental, gave an indication that although recent results have been disappointing, there is better to come from this Rangers side before the end of the season.
Rangers (4-4-2): Goram; Moore, Gough, Bjorklund, Cleland; Laudrup (Rozental, 86), B Ferguson (McCall, 78), I Ferguson (Gascoigne, 84), Albertz; Negri, Durie.
Motherwell (4-4-2): Woods; Christie (Valakari, 72), Martin, Newman, McMillan; May, Garcin, Falconer, McSkimming (McCullouch, 68); Coyle, Coyne. Substitute not used: Ross.
Referee: M McCurry (Glasgow).Reuse content