LATE SHOTA STRIKE RESCUES DISMAL RANGERS - Rangers 1 (Arveladze 81) Motherwell 0

Last updated : 18 January 2004 By Mister Premier
Attendance 48,925

There were two changes in the home line-up from seven
days ago with Craig Moore and Hamed Namouchi replacing
flu-victim Fernando Ricksen and the injured Chris

Rangers made a bright start – Namouchi seeing his
eighth minute shot from a Peter Lovenkrands opening
turned behind by former Ibrox goalkeeper Gordon

Sixty seconds later Shota Arveladze played a one-two
with Nuno Capucho before seeing his volley flash over
the bar.

The young Motherwell side were not just here to make
up the numbers however. Derek Adams came close in
eighteen minutes with a curling shot from an Alex
Burns pass.

Nine minutes later Marshall again defied the Champions
when he nipped the ball off Arveladze’s toe at the end
of a Lovenkrands – Capucho move.

The game had degenerated into a dire struggle with
neither side making much of an impression, although
Craig Moore passed up a golden opportunity to open the
scoring just before the interval when, with a free
header from a Mikel Arteta corner, he directed the
ball over the bar.

Rangers restarted on the offensive – Arveladze’s
twenty-yard drive from an Arteta pass in 49 minutes
producing a superb one-handed save from Marshall.

Things were going from bad to worse for the Light
Blues – Arteta limping off in 58 minutes to be
replaced by Christian Nerlinger, then four minutes
later a clearly unhappy Bob Malcolm was replaced by
Michael Mols.

A bizarre decision by Referee Craig Thomson in 65
minutes did nothing to improve the mood of the crowd
when he awarded a free-kick to Motherwell for no
apparent reason. Gordon Marshall had possession,
clearly wasting time, with Capucho the nearest Ranger
some eight yards away. If anything the ‘Well
goalkeeper was guilty of exceeding his allotted six
seconds, yet incredibly the award went to the

Frustration was growing amongst both support and
players as time ran out with no sign of a
breakthrough, and indeed precious little prospect of
one. Arveladze’s yellow card for dissent in 80 minutes
somehow summed the afternoon up.

Incredibly however within sixty seconds the Georgian
produced a delightful piece of skill to produce the
opener when, released by a weighted pass from Capucho,
he cleverly held the ball until Marshall had committed
himself, then chipped the ball into the net.

Rangers comfortably played out time with the one-goal
lead, but it had been a desperate performance.

Manager Alex McLeish afterwards said:

“We made a good start, but the final ball let us down.
Motherwell worked hard, and made it difficult for us.
Shota scored an inspired goal, played in two different
positions, and never stopped running.”

Motherwell Manager, and Ibrox Legend, Terry Butcher
was frustrated:

“That was a sore way to lose. I was proud of my boys,
they worked so hard. Rangers threw men forward in the
later stages, and got the break they needed.”

RANGERS Klos; Khizanishvili, Moore, Berg, Vanoli;
Namouchi (Ross 87), Malcolm (Mols 62), Arteta
(Nerlinger 58), Lovenkrands; Arveladze, Capucho
UNUSED SUBS McGregor, Ball

MOTHERWELL Marshall; Quinn, Corrigan, Craigan,
Hammell; Lasley, Adams, Leitch (Bollan 85), Dair;
Burns (McDonald 73), Clarkson
UNUSED SUBS Kinniburgh, O’Donnell, Corr

REFEREE Craig Thomson