CELEBRATIONS at this time of year have a habit of getting out of hand. So it was for Alfredo Morelos yesterday when the little Colombian made the mistake of gesturing towards the Motherwell ultras after he had rattled in his 27th of the season to give Rangers breathing space after a first-half Nikola Katic header.

Already on a booking after catching Jake Carroll with a high boot some five minutes previously, Morelos must immediately have regretted the mischievous ‘get it up ye’ sign he had made at the home support after cupping his ear towards them.

Referee Don Robertson issued a second yellow, then Morelos’ first red card of a season of near impeccable discipline after five dismissals last seasons.

The Ibrox side will have to go to Easter Road on Friday night without him, but at least they can do so having racked up their first domestic win in three games with this hard-earned two-goal victory at one of the Premiership’s form teams.

Another trip to Edinburgh altogether had been the talk of the steamie beforehand, with Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson arrested and charged on Friday evening after what police called a “disturbance” on the city’s Waverley Bridge.

For different reasons, this had been a big week for Rangers manager Steven Gerrard too, his side having successfully picked themselves up from the disappointment of losing the BetFred Cup final to Celtic when they made it into the last 32 of the Europa League. They will learn their fate in that competition today, but yesterday it was the small matter of a tough-looking trip to Lanarkshire. It was a compliment of sorts that Gerrard should name an unchanged line-up from the draw against Young Boys. That meant Morelos continuing up front ahead of Jermain Defoe and still no sign of influential injured midfielder Steven Davis.

They might have been chasing their first win against Rangers in a regular league match here since James McFadden scored the winner in a 1-0 Boxing Day win in 2002, but with pace high and wide on both flanks, Robinson’s side presented an awkward tactical problem and the home side nearly caught the Ibrox backline napping.

Chris Long hared onto Davante Cole’s headed flick, charging down an attempted Connor Goldson clearance and rounding Allan McGregor. Cole was breaking his neck to get into the six-yard box for the tap-in but James Tavernier sensed the danger and did brilliantly to clear.

Rangers were slow getting started but Morelos’ insatiable appetite for goals dragged them forward. Joe Aribo had a penalty claim for handball denied – the ball seemed to strike Jake Carroll on the midriff – and supposed £8m Juventus target Glen Kamara blotted his copybook with a wild left-foot shot over the bar, but Morelos was in the mood and only a fine save from Mark Gillespie prevented his 27th of the season with a snap left foot strike. The keeper was then down to low to ouch a right-foot effort from the same man onto the foot of the post for a corner.

Motherwell might have thought the danger was gone; if so, they were wrong. Borna Barisic speared over the corner and Nikola Katic completed the Croatian connection when he shook off the attentions of Bevis Mugabi to power in a header which Gillespie couldn’t keep out. The big centre half was fortunate not to compound Motherwell’s misery with a clumsy challenge on Morelos under another set piece.

Luke Donnelly was booked for a challenge on Morelos as the half ended in rancour, Scotland pals Ryan Jack and Declan Gallagher booked for their part in a row which bubbled most of the way up the tunnel.

It isn’t just against Celtic; Morelos is a force of nature who gets half a dozen chances against pretty much everyone he plays against. Gillespie was cast in the Fraser Forster role here, saving again from the Colombian minutes into the second period.

The match was starting to open up now, Gallagher saving a goal at one end with a perfectly timed challenge on Ryan Kent, then Allan McGregor producing heroics from close range to save a Chris Long header after a Carroll long throw had spun high off the head of Goldson.

The drama was just getting started, though. Scott Arfield found Aribo, whose low cross was latched onto by Morelos. While Gallagher got a foot in, Morelos swivelled and fired a low shot into the bottom corner with his left-foot this time. Before we knew it, he was trudging slowly off the park, a missile having also been thrown in his direction by the home fans.

There were still 20-plus minutes to see out, but Rangers’ clean sheet arrived with far too much comfort for Motherwell’s liking. The closest we came to a goal at either end was a Barisic free-kick from 25 yards which clipped the inside of the post before bouncing clear.

Motherwell 0

Rangers 2

Katic 27, Morelos 67