No lingering bad feeling with Rangers, insists Mark McGhee

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee has welcomed Rangers back to the top flight. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee has welcomed Rangers back to the top flight. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS

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Motherwell manager Mark McGhee has dismissed any concerns over lingering bad feeling with Rangers affecting their Betfred Cup opener.

Rangers return to Fir Park on Saturday for the first time since their 6-1 aggregate defeat in the 2015 play-offs, which ended with then Ibrox defender Bilel Mohsni punching home striker Lee Erwin to spark a melee, while some Motherwell fans taunted the visiting support after invading the pitch.

The away support was much reduced in numbers after the clubs failed to agree on ticket allocations for each leg but they have put those issues behind them.

And fears that Rangers supporters might mount a mass boycott of some Ladbrokes Premiership grounds in protest at the 2012 vote that consigned them to the Third Division have been allayed by the fact that tickets for the away stand at Fir Park sold out in about 24 hours.

McGhee said: “We are a club that welcome Rangers big time back into the league. As a competition, I think it’s better off with Rangers.

“There need be no bad feeling about that. Play-off games are emotional. When your the team that’s managed to survive, of course you are euphoric, and when you are the team that don’t you are going to be disappointed.

“I think that’s all that happened that day, but that’s in the past. I think Rangers can look forward again to a big future in the Premiership.”

Rangers have only played one pre-season game while Motherwell have been slow to get up to speed, suffering defeats against Arbroath, Cowdenbeath and Hibernian.

But McGhee anticipates a fully competitive encounter in the televised fixture.

“It’s a competitive game and we have got our heads round that,” he said. “It’s early for a competitive and they are the same, it’s their first toe in the water with three or four new bodies. I would have preferred Rangers to be the last in the sequence but this is the way it is and we have to embrace it.”

Meanwhile, Motherwell will not be able to make any more signings unless someone leaves the squad.

McGhee said: “People have to understand that financially we are probably at our limit. Unless anything changes, then we have probably done as much as we can do and are probably working with what we have.”

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