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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable