Motherwell 1 Rangers 2: Le Guen's French revolution off to winning start

Allez les Gers. Un match. Deux buts. Trois points. Le règne de Paul Le Guen est arrivé. As the Rangers fans might say: "'kin' aye! Pure deid brulyunt."

The travelling support will not be quite so enthusiastic about some of their side's finishing yesterday. Three gilt-edged chances went begging at the feet of Thomas Buffel in the first half alone. But an early opener by Libor Sionko, one of four new signings starting, and a winner by Dado Prso after Phil O'Donnell had levelled, guaranteed a triumphant start for the French manager.

"I'm very happy, we did well," Le Guen said. "Maybe I'm a little disappointed we did not score more from all our chances. But only a little. The most important thing, with Celtic and Hearts both winning on Saturday, is the three points.

"We had a good balance in our play today, some long balls, some [short] passing, a good mix. I'm not worried about Buffel. I know he is able to score and he will."

This success makes Le Guen only the second Rangers manager in the last eight to win the opening League game of his tenure. The other was Walter Smith. Given the circumstances there were plenty of pluses. Victory was achieved without Kris Boyd, the Scottish Premier League's leading goalscorer last season, who was suspended, and without Barry Ferguson, Rangers' talismanic captain whose recovery from ankle surgery is expected to take five more weeks. Out, too, were another pair, Ian Murray and Chris Burke, both injured.

Instead, Le Guen began with Brahim Hemdani in what will probably be Ferguson's role in the two-man holding-distribution pairing he favours in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Prso up front alone. Charlie Adam - on loan last season at St Mirren, who won the First Division - did well in operating behind Prso alongside Buffel and Sionko. The new goalkeeper, Lionel Letizi, was solid, while Stevie Smith at left-back caught the eye time and again with his swashbuckling runs.

Motherwell were dogged, hoping to prove they will not wither now that Terry Butcher has emigrated to Australia. But it was Rangers' wastefulness that kept the score respectable. Adam carved the hosts open as early as the fourth minute before Buffel chipped wide. Buffel then allowed Bobby Donnelly to intercept instead of shooting early, and later, after evading five men, chipped over. In between Sionko, fed by Adam, made it 1-0, and could have made it two but poked over.

Adam hit the bar early in the second half before O'Donnell equalised. Prso headed for 2-1 from a corner, and should have got his second in the final minute but blazed over.

Goals: Sionko (8) 0-1; O'Donnell (52) 1-1; Prso (66) 1-2.

Motherwell (4-4-2): Smith; Quinn, Craigan, Donnelly, Paterson; McGarry (Clarkson, 78), Kerr, O'Donnell, Foran (Fitzpatrick, 78); McCormack (McDonald, 62), Hamilton. Substitutes not used: Meldrum (gk), McBride, Connelly, Soutar.

Rangers (4-2-3-1): Letizi; Hutton, Svensson, Rodriguez, Smith; Hemdani, Clement; Adam, Buffel (N'Diaye, 90), Sionko (Novo, 80); Prso. Substitutes not used: McGregor (gk), Rae, Fan-Fan, Namouchi, Ashikodi.

Referee: J Underhill.

Booked: Motherwell Kerr, Fitzpatrick. Rangers Prso.

Man of the match: S Smith.

Attendance: 11,745.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home