Rangers debrief: Crowd reaction telling, 'cardinal sin' committed, McCausland tackle verdict

Three talking points as Motherwell claim first league win over Rangers at Ibrox in 27 years

Philippe Clement lost his unbeaten home record as Rangers manager in a shock 2-1 defeat to Motherwell at Ibrox. Dan Casey headed home the Motherwell winner in the 75th minute after James Tavernier had equalised from the penalty spot early in the second half to cancel out Theo Bair’s first half opener. Here we look back at three talking points from the match...

Crowd reaction telling

While there was an obvious air of disappointment and frustration around Ibrox on Saturday, except for the corner housing a few hundred Motherwell fans, there was a marked difference in atmosphere compared to Rangers' last home defeat back in October when Aberdeen left with a 3-1 victory that brought about the end of Michael Beale's reign. Back then, and throughout the early part of the season, the mood could get toxic pretty quickly inside the stadium if things were not going the home side's way. But such has been the turnaround under Philippe Clement that Ibrox was a much more forgiving place this time around. When Theo Bair scored Motherwell's opener on nine minutes, after an initial stunned silence, the goal was greeted with a roar of defiance as the home fans instantly got back behind their team. Most of the jeers throughout the game were reserved for referee Alan Muir and the perceived injustices against the home side, while Cyriel Dessers attracted more than a few howls of derision for failing to make the most of promising situations – nothing new there. While some grumbles of discontent were evident on the full-time whistle, there was no crescendo of boos as has been the case in the past. As Motherwell players celebrated in front of their fans, the defeated Rangers players were applauded by the home fans as they made their way around the pitch, a sure sign of the repair job Clement has overseen across his five months in charge that such a potentially damaging defeat did not turn the fans against him and his players.

Rangers' Connor Goldson and John Souttar look dejected at full-time after the defeat to Motherwell. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Rangers' Connor Goldson and John Souttar look dejected at full-time after the defeat to Motherwell. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Rangers' Connor Goldson and John Souttar look dejected at full-time after the defeat to Motherwell. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

'Cardinal sin' committed

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Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell insisted Rangers were awarded a "soft" penalty for their equalising goal on Saturday as he pointed to the length of time it took VAR to make a decision as evidence that no clear and obvious error had been made. Four minutes passed between referee Alan Muir waving play on and then changing his mind to award a spot kick after viewing video replays on the pitchside monitor. However, despite Kettlewell's protestations, it's hard to argue that the right decision was not ultimately reached in the end. Stephen O'Donnell went to ground and slid into Fabio Silva as the Portuguese forward clipped the ball over him. As Neil McCann highlighted on Sportscene, the former Scotland defender committed a "cardinal sin" by lunging in as he did in the box. Silva undoubtedly made a meal of it, but O'Donnell caught the Rangers player, and a penalty was the only correct outcome. All the more baffling that Muir didn't award it when he was no more than five yards away and staring straight at it.

McCausland tackle verdict

Rangers manager Philippe Clement was incensed with the tackle on Ross McCausland that left his player injured and unable to continue. Motherwell defender Dan Casey slid in strongly to win the ball before catching the Rangers youngster with his boot as he followed through. Referee Alan Muir did not even blow for a foul, while VAR reviewed the incident but decided it was not worth a second look. Clement stopped short of insisting the challenge merited a sending off but admitted: "If I see the last couple of months the way we get red cards, and I see this action... I don't understand to be honest." Replays show that Casey won the ball but wasn't in control as he followed through and clashed with McCausland. These challenges have been given as red cards in the past, which is perhaps where Clement’s anger stems from. His frustration would also come from the fact that Rangers have lost another attacker to injury with Abdallah Sima, Oscar Cortes, Danilo and Todd Cantwell all sidelined. James McFadden on Sportscene felt that the challenge would have only merited a yellow card. He said: "The tackle initially looks terrible and I can understand the frustration from the sidelines. He goes to ground but he doesn't actually make contact with his studs which I think people thought. Unfortunately for McCausland he has to go off. It is a heavy challenge but I think yellow is the correct decision."



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