McCoist on the spot

Rangers 3 Ferguson 2, McLaren 65, McCoist pen 77 Motherwell 2 Martin 53, Falconer 69 Attendance: 45,566
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The Independent Online
FOR ALL the talk of foreign imports, Rangers relied on traditional methods to secure this victory and extend their lead in the championship. The winner may have been a penalty, but it nevertheless enhanced Ally McCoist's reputation as a scorer of vitally important goals - yesterday's was his 15th strike of the season.

With Gordon Durie still injured and McCoist only fit for the bench Rangers had difficulties in selecting a striker. Their solution was to play without one. Ian Ferguson filled the role but his natural midfield instincts drew him deep. Meanwhile, Brian Laudrup flirted with various positions, hugging both wings, nestling in a central role ahead of Paul Gascoigne and producing a marvellous display of his talents. However, neither he nor Peter van Vossen, who also wandered wide, could be classed as a centre- forward.

The result was a system in a constant state of metamorphosis as players overlapped, switched flanks, dropped back then pushed forward. It gave Gascoigne space to run and link with a variety of areas, and at times he and Laudrup were breathtaking. As for van Vossen, judgement is reserved. He looks convincing running with the ball but his first touch is poor and his final ball is often off the mark.

When Ferguson opened the scoring in the second minute it seemed to be an indication ofthings to come. Gascoigne ran at the defence, who backed off in fear of humiliation, giving him room to feed Ferguson on the right. His low drive gave the goalkeeper Scott Howie little chance.

Motherwell gave no indication that a change in their fortunes was imminent. Andy Goram denied Rob McKinnon and John Hendry's header over the bar was the best they could offer until Brian Martin strolled forward from the centre circle without challenge. His 30-yard equaliser stunned Goram and shocked Rangers into attack.

It took them only 12 minutes to regain the lead as Martin undid his hard work, stumbling over a Gascoigne pass allowing Alan McLaren to score. But Motherwell are desperate for points and thought they had stolen one when, four minutes later, McKinnon's low cross was finished by the left foot of Willie Falconer.

On came McCoist to replace van Vossen with 18 minutes to go. Five minutes later Gascoigne was tripped in the box by Chris McCart and McCoist convertedto extend his goalscoring legend.