Ibrox was too stunned to let out much of a complaint as the clock hit 76 and Dan Casey wheeled away in celebration at the back post yesterday.

Theo Bair had earned a corner on the latest of his marauding runs that Connor Goldson failed to confront and minutes onfrom James Tavernier’s penalty which built expectation, the visitors restored a lead they were well worth.

This wasn’t in the script for another sellout home crowd at Ibrox. They’d done, what was perceived, the most difficult part of the past fortnight’s fixture list by blowing away Hearts and showing character in abundance away at Kilmarnock. Equalling the anger was a bewilderment in Glasgow’s southside. It felt as though all the intensity in the tank had been used up come kick-off. Was this a failure under pressure? Or perhaps, more accurately, some complacency having overcome the perceived tougher tasks in days prior?

Rangers have, perhaps a few months later than expected, hit their wall under Clement. The Belgian has ridden the crest of a wave since arriving at Ibrox but tempered this moment would arrive. Few expected it to come here and few expected it to come like this, however.

A 2-1 defeat was Clement’s second since assuming control last October, the other coming at Parkhead, and a first at Ibrox.

“I didn’t expect to have this moment after five months in the building,” Clement reflected during his post-match press conference when asked by the Rangers Review about this moment of distinctive disappointment.

“I thought it would be much earlier to have it. Now I’ll get to know my team even better. I know them really well already. But now I’m going to see who’s going to be the guys to stand up after a disappointment. I don’t doubt it too much. They are very disappointed and a lot of heads are down. I’m disappointed too not to get the three points.”

Truthfully this was a game in which Rangers' start set the tempo and informed the rest. Stuart Kettlewell’s men deserve real credit for the execution of a game plan that stopped a side who’ve been relentless in recent months. Breaking up the early stages and neglecting the hosts of any control or rhythm, their plan to target the left-hand side of the defence created a chance the excellent Bair would finish into the far bottom corner early on. John Souttar overcommitted and his mistake was quickly punished. 

No panic, so thought most in the ground. Wins like Wednesday were supposed to mark the end of Rangers’ ability to let down during this campaign. 

That’s why the defeat is difficult to place in the context of this campaign. Aside from an extra-time comeback win over Hearts early in Clement’s fixture, matches at Ibrox have been navigated with relative ease and comfort. 

Rangers had chances. Ironically their open play xG, the quality of chance fashioned, was well higher than last Saturday when five goals were put past Hearts. According to StatsBomb the Ibrox side scored one open play goal from 1.34xG last Saturday and no goals from 3.17G yesterday (disclosing the penalty).

Fabio Silva was handed a golden chance minutes after coming on that was volleyed into Liam Kelly’s hands and Cyriel Dessers afforded his usual glut of half opportunities that lacked a goal this week. Come extra time Kemar Roofe, Goldson and Silva all had excellent opportunities. While it took the home side too long to raise their tempo they could've conceivably turned the game during eight minutes of extra time based on the chances they did fashion.

Ross McCausland’s injury in the first 45 further compounded the pre-match news issued by Clement that Oscar Cortes will miss an extended period of football and could require surgery, having sustained an injury during Wednesday’s 2-1 victory against Kilmarnock. Leaving an area of the pitch already badly impacted all the more light. Clement was aggrieved that there was not even a foul blown when Dan Casey tackled McCausland at full force and understandably so. The challenge was reminiscent of the one that injured John Lundstram before Christmas while Dujon Sterling was sent off for a similar moment.

With Sterling and Silva playing makeshift roles on the right and left, Clement remonstrated with his side to retain their width and stretch out the visiting back five throughout the second half. Perhaps understandably, his side lacked the dynamism and threat from wide areas which only further clogged a busy centre. It was reminiscent of the first few games after change in the dugout when players fielded wide seemed desperate to be anywhere but the touchline. Rangers looked like a team playing without wingers because... they were a team playing without wingers.

When Tavernier levelled with another pressure penalty around the hour mark the home side had not learned from the first half. Their passivity in the wrong moments allowed Motherwell space to find a winner which, having hit the crossbar at 1-0, their play merited. Bair was more than a handful for Goldson after the break - the 24-year-old Canadian dominated that duel and gave Goldson the most difficult domestic afternoon he has endured in a long, long time. 

If you match a misfiring attack with a mistake-prone defence, victories are difficult at the best of times let alone when a creaking squad is valiantly limping on. If Rangers had won yesterday, one or the other would've had to perform.

Clement has worked wonders with the resources available so far but at present all three of four of his choices on the left wing - Abdallah Sima, Rabbi Matondo, McCausland and Cortes - are unavailable. There’s a Europa League last-16 clash with Benfica to navigate and a Scottish Cup tie with Hibs at Easter Road before league duty resumes. Is there the energy to navigate the volume of minutes? 

The full-time reaction from the fans was telling. There was disappointment, of course, but no boos or whistles.

“How many times was the ball saved on the line today? It didn’t happen too much in my career, to be honest, a day like that,” Clement added.

READ MORE: Every word Philippe Clement said after Rangers 1-2 Motherwell

“That’s a part of football you don’t control. You need some luck in certain circumstances. It’s our job in the next few weeks to push that luck to our side.”

Rangers’ destiny is still in the palm of their hands. It’s taken them longer than anyone expected, Clement included, to hit a wall which has been avoided since the autumn. Will that match with Motherwell be an exception to the rule so far? We won't have to wait long to find out.