BORNA BARISIC threw his arms aloft with frustration, bemoaning the lack of movement in the Rangers forward ranks moments before today’s interval in Lanarkshire.

His team had strolled into a one-goal lead at Fir Park only to see their superiority dashed by Leon Balogun’s out of character lunge, reducing the visitors to 10-men. Minutes later, Glen Kamara also broke from tradition to lose the ball in a deep area, granting Ross Tierney the chance to level proceedings.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst had moved to a 4-3-2 for the remainder of the first half after his experienced defender saw red. It was a shape akin to the compact block better known as ‘Bealeball’ in Glasgow’s southside, however, it wasn’t until a further dressing room alteration following the equaliser that a foundation for victory was established. 

Moving Scott Arfield ahead of Steven Davis and Glen Kamara as opposed to alongside them enabled Scott Wright and Fashion Sakala to play wider, in more recognisable roles. Rather than resembling a strike force, the pair lined up as wide split strikers, attacking Motherwell in uncomfortable spaces as Graham Alexander’s men tried to assert control.

Rangers Review: Rangers initially moved to a 4-3-2 after Balogun's red. Rangers initially moved to a 4-3-2 after Balogun's red.

Rangers Review: After the interval, van Bronckhorst utilised a 4-2-3 formation. After the interval, van Bronckhorst utilised a 4-2-3 formation.

And as has so often been the case during van Bronckhorst’s spell at Ibrox, he strengthened his own team and weakened the opposition with his tactical tinkering. 

Ally McCoist had vocalised his dissatisfaction at the duo's output with the game delicately poised before the interval.

“I was nearly in on it myself,” he jibed after Sakala “reacted rather than anticipated” to a James Tavernier ball across the face of goal.

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“In that split second you see why he doesn’t give you 20 a season,” he reasoned after Wright failed to pull the trigger having been played into a promising area by the Zambian.

Indeed, this very writer was in favour of introducing Joe Aribo and Ryan Kent, to provide some sort of out-ball over Motherwell’s pressure. However, football can change so very quickly and it was the combined second-half efforts of Wright and Sakala that dictated the game's eventual outcome, with a little help from the dugout.

“At half time, we changed things when we had the ball and defensively and it worked well,” van Bronckhorst told Sky Sports News post-match of his move away from the 4-3-2.

“They (Sakala and Wright) had a slightly diffident role when we went down to 10 men, they caused a lot of danger.”

Motherwell failed to record a shot on target in the second half despite their clear advantage. Contrastingly Rangers, having reached half time with an xG total of 0.35, quadrupled their chance creation with a man disadvantage, amassing an xG of 1.38 in the second 45.

Kris Boyd, another man who knows what it takes to score goals for Rangers, suggested after the game that based on the afternoon’s evidence, Sakala is simply better conditioned to play from the wing than centrally. The switch allowed him to move from outside to in and attack an isolated defender, rather than move in the opposite direction. 

Both players appeared more comfortable, and more dangerous in space and combined to score a second soon after the restart.

Later, another Sakala run from wide provided Tavernier with the opportunity to secure three points. 

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With Celtic heading north to face Ross County tomorrow afternoon, all Rangers could do this lunchtime was keep the pressure on. Without key personnel again and four days prior to the biggest game this club has played in 14 years, today’s result was a further demonstration of a maturing character which defined success in domestic and continental cup competitions last week.

Assisted by further calm, composed and impactful decision making from the side, the team’s resolve stood tall.

That combination which has proved so fruitful since November must keep rumbling on to maintain momentum heading into May.