THERE is so much chat of strikers in Govan that this picturesque hamlet has temporarily become yet again reminiscent of Red Clydeside.

A period of discontent at Ibrox yesterday was avoided by the timely interventions of David Healy and Sone Aluko and a donation to the strike fund from Motherwell's Stephen Craigan. Their goals gave Rangers a deserved victory but the significance of this match was far from restricted to picking up three points in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

It was all about strikers at Ibrox. Nikica Jelavic was absent from the struggle because of what was described as a groin injury. His wrist, though, is believed to be functioning fully and may be used to some effect when a pen is placed in has hand and a contract put in front of him at some spot in England.

The effect of his much-predicted departure will be exacerbated by the injury sustained by another Rangers striker. Kyle Lafferty pulled up after just five minutes of the first half. The Northern Irishman has damaged a hamstring and will be out for at least four weeks.

With one striker seeking alternative employment and another on the sick, it was therefore crucial that another, in the squat shape of Healy, should make a significant contribution.

His goal after 34 minutes was crucial in incontrovertibly tilting the balance of this match. Motherwell, the most polite of first footers, never caused Rangers any alarm throughout the match but the home side's nerves could have been stretched beyond breaking point without a first-half goal.

Rangers had attacked with some deliberation if little inspiration for half an hour but Healy's neat finish, after Maurice Edu had profited from a slip by Steven Hammell, was enough both to calm the nerves of the home sympathisers and give rise to a belief that Motherwell's New Year tea was already out.

The goal had the added beneficial effect for Rangers of giving Healy some encouragement. The striker had not started a league match since February and had already missed with a clear header before scoring. The likelihood is that he will have a far more active 2012 with a dearth of Rangers strikers able to man the picket line. If this shortage is a concern to Ally McCoist, the Rangers manager, he will be encouraged by much of what he witnessed yesterday.

The victory was a perfect riposte to an Old Firm defeat and there were impressive individual performances. Lee Wallace, playing wide on the left of a midfield four, was powerful and consistently dangerous and Aluko gave further evidence that for all his flaws he can produce moments of class that have the ability to unlock defences.

Wallace was the thrust of Rangers' attacking focus for much of the first half, consistently beating Tim Clancy, and setting up a variety of chances. Healy just missed a decisive connection to one cutback from the former Hearts player and the home side seemed condemned to a first half of frustration made even more bitter by the injury to Lafferty as he pulled up after chasing a through ball from Sasa Papac after just five minutes.

His replacement, John Fleck, is not a striker and instinctively comes deep to receive the ball. Motherwell then were in a decent position, however, Healy's goal changed everything and set the Ibrox side on their way to victory.

Stuart McCall's side were limited to fleeting chances throughout the match. Michael Higdon, predictably, had the measure of the Rangers central defence in the air but this superiority could not be utilised further forward. There was a moment when Keith Lasley should have found Stephen Hughes at the far post and there was another incident in the first half when Higdon slid in only to knock the ball over the bar.

But for the rest of the game Motherwell were unthreatening. The Fir Park manager introduced Omar Daley and Chris Humphrey at half-time for Hughes and the disappointing Jamie Murphy but Rangers subsequently increased their lead without much fuss.

Wallace was denied by a good save by Darren Randolph at the back post before Aluko profited from some excellent interpassing between Fleck and Healy to shoot decisively home from the edge of the area.

Wallace then made another important contribution when he smashed Aluko's cross back across the line for Craigan to divert into the net. Motherwell's response was restricted to a run and cross by Daley that Allan McGregor, possibly suffering from a psychological disorder caused by extreme isolation and inactivity, misjudged to no ill effect.

After this flickering intervention, the match reverted to type with Salim Kerkar almost immediately scoring and Rangers seeing out the afternoon with ease.

A contest that had the capacity to cause Rangers some distress passed without any anxiety, save the injury to Lafferty. The absence of the Northern Ireland internationalist must surely mean that McCoist has to bring in another striker.

The Rangers manager can be consoled, however, by a commanding display by his defence, albeit in the face of a weak Motherwell side. In midfield, there were glimmers of the Steven Davis who can run and pass with purpose in midfield and an excellent display by Wallace.

But McCoist would have been best pleased by the opening goal from Healy and the resilience of his team after a trying period at the end of 2011. The significance of strikers can not be overplayed but the manager will be gratified by the knowledge that his side is not about to down tools.