Scottish Premiership play-off final: Rangers need three at Motherwell
Rangers are in danger of facing another season in the Scottish Championship, after being blitzed 3-1 by Motherwell in their Premiership play-off final first leg, with Stuart McCall’s men now needing to overturn that daunting scoreline to succeed.
The Gers were expected to cruise towards a top-flight comeback, but a sickening defeat on home soil has delivered a potentially fatal blow those top tier hopes, with Motherwell now sitting in a comfortable position in this play-off encounter.
Speaking after such a crushing loss at Ibrox, Rangers boss McCall was expectedly critical of his side’s under-par performance on home turf, and they are now 6/1 with Coral to win the play-offs.
“I’m hugely disappointed,” stated McCall. “That’s as poor as we have been in possession of the ball when I’ve been at the club. I’m really frustrated that tonight, of all the games, too many of us had off nights.
“But we’ll look at last season’s Hibs-Hamilton scenario [when Hamilton came back from a 2-0 first leg defeat]. The first goal on Sunday will be crucial, and it’s hugely important that we get that.
“We’ll play a different way on Sunday. If this had been a cup final then we would be out of it, but we still have a second chance.”
To keep things simple, Gers must win 3-0 and that is rated a remote 33/1 prospect. In the happier dugout, Motherwell manager Ian Barraclough declared that his men’s tactics worked perfectly and is looking forward to the second leg on Sunday, when the hosts are 6/4 to triumph in 90 minutes.
“We came with a game-plan,” admitted Baraclough. “We worked on the shape, drawing them on, and we knew that we could counter at pace. We did that fantastically well and could have actually have had one or two more.”
Rangers need more from their attacking options, and wih veteran Kenny Miller boasting five in seven for the vlub against Well. He’s a 15/8 anytime chance, while Kris Boyd, who has eight in a dozen Gers starts when previously paired with this opposition is 2/1 in the same market.
Nicky Law is the Ibrox outfit’s top scorer with 13, though, and is thus splendid value to net again at 5/1. Dean Shiels is shorter at 7/2.
For Motherwell, left-sided pair Stevie Hammel and Stephen Pearson should both be fit to play. Leading marksman John Sutton has four career goals against Gers, and is 6/4 to net again anytime. Ex-Australia international Scott McDonald also has that many when previously paired with them, and is thus the same price in that market.
Lee Irwin (15/8) and Lionel Ainsworth (11/4) were on target in the first leg, and Baraclough will be looking to them to help secure Well’s top-flight status.
It’s a tall order for Rangers here, who are 9/2 to score three goals or more.