Bevis Mugabi available to face Rangers after European ban
Bevis Mugabi returns to the Motherwell squad to face Rangers after missing the Europa League clash with Hapoel Beer-Sheva.
The defender served a European suspension following his red card in Coleraine.
Defenders Charles Dunne and Jake Carroll are still working their way back to fitness following long-term absences, while midfielder Liam Donnelly and goalkeeper Scott Fox are recovering from knee surgery.
Rangers survived Thursday night’s Europa League trip to Willem II unscathed after picking up no fresh injuries.
Winger Brandon Barker has an outside chance of being fit for Sunday’s clash after shaking off a hamstring strain.
Ryan Jack has resumed light training after his calf problem and is progressing well, while Kemar Roofe (calf), Joe Aribo (ankle) and long-term absentee Nikola Katic (knee) will be missing at Fir Park.
Despite enjoying an unbeaten start to the season, Rangers are still under huge pressure to maintain this form as they travel to Motherwell.
Six wins and two draws would be considered a strong start for any team in any normal league however, when it comes to the Scottish Premiership and Rangers this is simply the standard expectation.
Steven Gerrard’s men are already under a bit of pressure from Celtic who are right behind them in the standings despite playing a game less.
Rangers are the favourites to win this weekend having been priced at the 2/7 mark. Motherwell, meanwhile, are currently available in the betting at around 9/1.
Gerrard’s men are on a nine-match unbeaten run across all competitions and they will be coming into this game after an impressive 4-0 thrashing of Willem II in the Europa League qualifiers.
What’s more, this is a side with a good head to head record against Motherwell having beaten the side in all four of the most recent head to head games.
These head to head games have been pretty one sided in recent years and with Motherwell only managing two wins from their opening eight league games, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a continuation of this run.
Our recommendation is to back the away side to maintain their good form and go for a 3-0 win which is currenlty available at 8/1 with Betfair.
There is a 21.0% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Glasgow Rangers, at 60.1%, are heavy favorites to beat Motherwell who have just a 18.9% chance to win at home. Overall, the average simulation score is Glasgow Rangers 2.5 to Motherwell 1.4. In simulation wins, Motherwell upsets Glasgow Rangers by averaging 19.6 shots and 5.6 shots on goal. They average 2.7 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.9 in simulation losses.
James Tavernier converts two penalties as Rangers cruise past Motherwell
Motherwell’s penalty problems returned as James Tavernier converted twice from the spot to help Rangers to a crushing 5-1 win at Fir Park.
Stephen Robinson’s team have now given away eight spot-kicks already this term – with free shots from 12 yards accounting for almost half of the 18 goals they have conceded so far.
Having not had a Premiership penalty in exactly 11 months, Gers found themselves with two inside 26 first-half minutes.
Tavernier, restored to spot-kick duties during the Light Blues midweek Europa League win in Holland, tucked both away as he extended his current scoring streak to six goals in as many games.
Jordan Jones made the most of his first league start since August last year to to show he is ready to play a bigger role for Steven Gerrard’s team as he curled home his first Gers goal in a win which sees them remain at the top of the table.
Cedric Itten also opened his Light Blues account with a late double after climbing off the bench, while a George Edmundson own goal could not mask the pain of Well’s fifth defeat of the campaign.
Motherwell had been in European action too on Thursday night, with Bevis Mugabi and Callum Lang replacing Nathan McGinley and Chris Long from the team beaten by Hapoel Beer Sheva in Israel.
Borna Barisic and Ianis Hagi were also given a rest after Gers’ Europa League romp against Williem II in Holland, with Calvin Bassey and Jones handed a rare chance to impress by Gerrard.
Having been rudely awakened by the Dutch outfit’s supporters setting off fireworks in the early hours before the clash in Tilburg, Gerrard’s men were treated to more pyrotechnics as the Motherwell fans let off some rockets outside Fir Park at kick-off.
But once again it was Rangers who exploded into life, carving out the first opportunity inside 45 seconds as Alfredo Morelos had a header pushed away by Trevor Carson.
Gers’ last penalty on league duty ironically enough had come against the Steelmen back on October 27 last year.
And their wait for another ended 11 minutes in when Mugabi’s dangled arm made contact with a Bassey cross as he tried to pick out Scott Arfield. Carson went the right way but was beaten by the accuracy of the Tavernier’s effort, which clipped the post on its way in.
Well could have had a spot-kick of their own soon after but Bobby Madden missed a barge by Glen Kamara on Allan Campbell.
Rangers moved two up on 28 minutes as Arfield measured a perfect ball in behind Ricki Lamie for Jones to outpace the defender. The winger has started just seven games for the Ibrox men since moving to Kilmarnock last summer but looked sharp as he took a touch and swept a lovely left-foot finish in off the same upright.
And the lead became three as some more suicidal behaviour in the box killed off Motherwell’s comeback hopes, with Liam Grimshaw using an arm to stop a Ryan Kent corner as Bassey darted across the front post.
Tavernier went the other way with his second penalty but the result was the same as the ball flew past Carson.
Robinson introduced striker Long and midfielder Barry Maguire at the break but it made little difference as Rangers steamrollered on.
Carson kept out two free-kick attempts from Tavernier but there was no stopping Itten’s maiden Gers goal on 75 minutes as the Swiss international took a touch on the edge of the box and crashed into the top corner before netting again four minutes later as he bundled home from a Tavernier corner.
Edmundson was left red-faced with three minutes left when he allowed Sherwin Seedorf’s corner to bounce in off his face into McGregor’s net.