Motherwell shocked Rangers to blow the title race wide open as goals from Theo Bair and Dan Casey either side of a James Tavernier penalty gave the visitors a shock win at Ibrox.

It was the first time that the Steelmen had defeated Rangers on league duty since Boxing Day 2002, and their first league win at Ibrox since 1997.

They had to ride their luck at times, but given how off colour Rangers were on the day, it was hard to argue against the notion that both sides left Ibrox with what they deserved for what they had put into the contest.

Here are the talking points from a stunned Ibrox…


Motherwell had been threatening to move back ahead on the counter as Rangers desperately tried to find a winner, but you would have got long odds on it being centre back Casey who would pop up to stun Ibrox.

Bair was denied on the end of one of those Motherwell breaks by a last-gasp Connor Goldson block, but Rangers failed to deal with the corner, and Motherwell worked the ball back to the right-hand side.

Lennon Miller swung it to the back post, and there was Casey to nod home and send the band of ‘Well fans in the corner wild. And it had been coming. The question is though, should Casey have been on the park to score it?

When the ball broke between the hulking Motherwell defender and the whippet-like Ross McAusland for a 50/50 in the first half, you didn’t fancy the Rangers’ youngster’s chances. So it transpired, as Casey went to ground and cleaned out ball and man.

In real time, it looked a fair enough challenge, if a little robust. But on closer inspection, it looked more than a little bit naughty from Casey, who made sure he was going to take his man long after the ball had left the area.

With McAusland down injured, referee Alan Muir – who incensed the home crowd on more than a few occasions – signalled to his ear that VAR were indeed checking the incident, but no further action was taken. Much to Casey’s relief, and to much surprise around Ibrox.


The Rangers support rolled up at Ibrox in expectant mood, with the parading of club legend Steven Davis prior to kick off adding to the festive atmosphere.

It was one thing though if the home fans thought the hardest hurdle of the week had already been cleared at Rugby Park, but it seemed the players in blue had also turned up expecting to make light work of Motherwell.

In fact, they looked startled that Stuart Kettlewell’s side had other ideas, and right from the off they looked a threat with the clever movement of Jack Vale and the power of Bair. And it was those two who combined to stun Ibrox by giving the visitors an early lead.

Vale leaned into John Souttar under a ball played up the channel, with the Rangers defender committing himself far too eagerly and ending up missing the ball altogether to allow his opponent a clear run into the box.

The on-loan Blackburn Rovers forward got his head up and squared for Bair arriving into the middle to sidefoot home off Jack Butland’s far post. It wasn’t the cleanest of finishes, but the big Canadian cared not a jot as he bounded away to celebrate his 10th of an impressive season.

The duo of Vale and Bair gave Goldson and Souttar nightmares all day, with the Rangers centre backs epitomising the lacklustre nature of the Rangers performance. In such a vital game, it was an unforgivable display, and one that may have handed the title race momentum back to Celtic.

What shouldn’t be lost though is that Motherwell absolutely nailed their manager’s game plan to perfection, and while the bigger story may be at the top end of the table, it is the Steelmen who deserve a massive pat on the back.


For all the rage around Ibrox at the decisions that may have gone against Rangers on the day – and a lot of it justified – it was VAR that looked to have ridden to the rescue of the hosts as they toiled for a leveller at the start of the second half.

The ball was worked to Fabio Silva at the back post where he looked primed for a strike at goal, with Motherwell defender Stephen O’Donnell desperately trying to get across to block. Silva hurdled the challenge, but with the home fans screaming for a penalty, referee Muir turned away and the play raged on.

When it went out for a throw though, the obligatory VAR check started to drag on, with the longer the delay, the likelier it appeared that the award would be given. Still, it was a good three minutes before Muir eventually trotted over to the VAR screen, and he gave the incident a good old look before eventually deciding that there had been an infringement.

Penalty Rangers, as they say around these parts. Which usually only has the one outcome…


It will be cold comfort to him, but what else is there to say about the goalscoring prowess of the Rangers captain? His spot-kick conversion here took him to 122 goals in blue, taking him ahead of the greatest ever Ranger as the club’s highest scoring defender of all time.

Sure, a lot of them have been penalties, but you’ve still got to tuck them away, and he did so under severe pressure here with his usual aplomb, finding the top right-hand corner to give Rangers half an hour to find a crucial winner.

Instead though, it was Motherwell who would come up with the telling moment, and after some late Liam Kelly heroics, an incredible miss from Goldson and a goalline clearance from Paul McGinn, they got their reward.