Scottish Football: Motherwell savour change of fortune

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The Independent Online
THE FACT that Scotland's match of the day, between the two teams that share the summit of the Premier Division, features Rangers is hardly a surprise, writes Rupert Metcalf. What is less expected is that the club in second place on goal difference are Motherwell.

This time last year, the Lanarkshire side were four points adrift at the foot of the division, and 23 points behind the leaders, Rangers. Today at Fir Park, the two clubs - both on 25 points, two ahead of Aberdeen and Celtic - contest the outright league leadership.

Tommy McLean, the Motherwell manager, said: 'We had a terrible series of injuries last season. Key players were out for long spells, but fortunately we've avoided them this time around.

'Even Rangers have suffered this season with people like Richard Gough and Ally McCoist missing, but the difference is that we don't have adequate cover, while they can pull out the cheque book.'

Motherwell can call on Tommy Coyne, signed from Tranmere Rovers this week for pounds 110,000, to boost their attack, but they have doubts over Phil O'Donnell, Rob McKinnon and Paul Lambert. For Coyne, the former Celtic striker, the return to top-flight action gives him a chance to press his claim for a place in the Republic of Ireland's World Cup squad.

For Rangers, Gough has a groin strain while his defensive colleague, John Brown, has a calf injury, so Dave McPherson and Steve Pressley are likely to join forces at the heart of the back line.