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Sunday, 21 May, 2000, 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK
'Well's gallant win not enough
Billy Davies just failed to take his side into Europe
Motherwell 2-0 Rangers

Motherwell inflicted Rangers' first away league defeat of the season on the campaign's final day.

But there was no UEFA Cup place to reward the Fir Park outfit for their achievement.

Hibernian's failure to defeat Edinburgh rivals Hearts at Tynecastle meant Motherwell's heroics were in vain in a game during which Rangers were outplayed for long periods.

Pat Nevin played his last game for 'Well
Motherwell will have to settle for the accolade of being the only Scottish side to beat a travelling Rangers side in the league.

The home side were much the sharper from the outset.

Simo Valakari started his last game before his Bosman switch to Derby, while Pat Nevin, who has been released as a player despite being chief executive, played as a substitute.

Steven Hammell stepped in for the injured Stephen McMillan, while Rangers rested Billy Dodds to allow Jonatan Johansson and Seb Rozental to start in attack.

Rod Wallace, keen to prove his fitness ahead of next week's Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen at Hampden Park, played as a late substitute, though Craig Moore remained sidelined.

Disallowed effort

Motherwell had the ball in the net after just 12 minutes only for the effort to be disallowed by referee Mike McCurry in what was far from a clear-cut decision.

Ged Brannan, who collected a wrist injury in the early moments, floated in a free-kick from the right but Strong was adjudged to have pushed Tony Vidmar as he headed past Stefan Klos.

Motherwell spurned a clear opening when John Spencer's neat pass played Brannan clear on goal but van Bronckhorst tracked back at pace and put him off his shot which Klos saved with relative ease.

Rozental made time and space for himself at the edge of the area after 23 minutes only to fire over.

Rod Wallace aims to be fit for the cup final
A minute later Neil McCann replaced the ineffective Johansson.

The home team could, and perhaps should, have moved ahead on 28 minutes when Derek Adams, in for the suspended Lee McCulloch, released Don Goodman but Klos was equal to his angled drive.

On the half-hour mark, Goram produced a fine one-handed stop to deny Jorg Albertz, while at the other end the busy Spencer hooked a half-volley over the bar.

After 41 minutes, the match took a stormy turn when Derek Adams fouled Barry Ferguson.

Scotland's player of the year retaliated and both were booked, much to the fury of the other Rangers players.

Visitors punished

With Hearts leading Hibernian at the interval, Motherwell knew their fate was not in their own hands, but they pressed forward regardless, Brannan testing Klos from close range.

On the hour mark, a Paul Harvey corner saw a deflected Greg Strong shot bounce just past Goodman's outstretched leg.

Kanchelskis, who had had a miserable afternoon, missed a chance for Rangers on 64 minutes, miskicking badly after Numan and McCann had combined well on the left.

A minute later the visitors were punished as substitute Kevin Twaddle raced onto a long ball from Benito Kemble and after holding off a weak Porrini challenge clipped the ball expertly past Klos for the opening goal.

After 67 minutes, Vidmar was fortunate to escape with only a yellow card as he hauled back Twaddle who was looking to capitalise on a through ball from Spencer.

Sluggish display

Motherwell were in charge in a manner few sides have managed against Rangers this term, though the visitors might have levelled when McCann failed to turn in a van Bronckhorst free-kick virtually on the goalline.

But on 72 minutes it was 2-0 to Motherwell, as Twaddle fed Spencer who cut inside with pace before crashing the ball beyond the reach of Klos to leave Rangers reeling.

Van Bronckhorst had an opportunity to pull a goal back after 78 minutes but Goram, who had never won against Rangers since his departure, held firm to save.

Rozental summed up his sluggish display, and that of his team, by scooping over when put through by substitute Tugay Kerimoglu in the 89th minute as the title winners looked well beaten.

Dick Advocaat: Fuming
Rangers boss Dick Advocaat was left fuming by his side's ineptitude a week before the Scottish Cup final.

He said: "We got what we deserved. There was no commitment and no sharpness. We gave them two presents with the goals.

"You can expect Aberdeen to give the same commitment as Motherwell, so that was for us a good exercise of how we are not intending to do it next week."

Motherwell manager Billy Davies was delighted with the result but a little disappointed at not having qualified for Europe.

"I'm still very proud and very happy with everyone at the club," he said.

"It has been about improving on last season's league position and we've done that. Now we have to work on our consistency for next season, but fourth place in the SPL is a real achievement."


Motherwell: Goram, Corrigan, Kemble, Strong, Hammell, Harvey, Valakari, Brannan, Adams, Spencer, Goodman.
Subs:Woods, Nicholas, Nevin, Townsley, Twaddle.

Rangers: Klos, Reyna, Vidmar, Porrini, Numan, Kanchelskis, Ferguson, van Bronckhorst, Albertz, Johansson, Rozental.
Subs: Wallace, McCann, Tugay, Brown, Malcolm.

Referee: Mike McCurry (Scotland)

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