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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 July 2006, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Motherwell 1-2 Rangers
Dado Prso (left) and Libor Sionko (centre) celebrate the opening goal
Dado Prso (left) and Libor Sionko (centre) celebrate the opening goal
Goals from Libor Sionko and Dado Prso gave Rangers a winning start to the season under new boss Paul Le Guen.

Sionko scored on his debut after eight minutes when his blocked shot rebounded back off him and into the net.

Motherwell equalised in a rare foray forward when Phil O'Donnell hooked the ball into the net after Lionel Letizi had saved his first effort.

But captain-for-the-day Prso headed powerfully past Graeme Smith to give Rangers a deserved victory.

Motherwell looked in no mood to make things easy for Le Guen's Rangers as the home team threatened in the opening moments.

But Rangers' Thomas Buffel then had two excellent goalscoring chances in the first four minutes, only to send both efforts wide of goal.

The Belgian later burst clear of the home defence, but Graeme Smith did well to close him down.

Rangers made the early breakthrough when Charlie Adam played a beautifully judged pass in behind the Motherwell back four and though Sionko's shot was saved by Smith, the ball ricocheted off the Czech's leg and into the net.

Motherwell managed to stem Rangers' attacking flow in the immediate aftermath of the goal, without forcing Letizi in the opposition goal into action.

The influential Buffel passed up another opportunity after 33 minutes following a fine solo run from inside his own half, his final shot drifting narrowly over the bar.

Paul Le Guen shows his appreciation for the performance
Paul Le Guen shows his appreciation for the performance

Sionko had a good chance to double his personal tally five minutes before the break, but he volleyed over from close range after Prso had picked him out at the far post.

Adam came close to adding to Rangers' lead at the start of the second half after more good work for Buffel, but his fierce drive came back off the bar.

Rangers were made to rue those misses when Motherwell promptly equalised.

Ross McCormack's cross found O'Donnell unmarked six yards out and though his first shot was saved by Letizi, O'Donnell had the presence of mind to hook out his boot to volley the rebound into the net.

They were not on level terms for long though. Prso met an Adam corner at the front post and headed it into the roof of the net.

The stand-in captain almost had a second shortly afterwards, but his close-range volley was superbly tipped onto the post by Smith.

Motherwell substitute Scott McDonald found space to shoot late in the game, but his shot flew wide and Le Guen's Rangers comfortably held on for the three points.

  • Motherwell manager Maurice Malpas:
    "Being honest, it could have been three or four against us in the first 20 minutes.

    "We rode our luck, but in the second half it was a different ball game. We caused them more problems than they caused us.

    "We were going for three points. We're always going to be a positive team."

  • Rangers manager Paul Le Guen
    "I'm very happy. We played good football even when they equalised. We never gave up and we were rewarded with a victory.

    "We made many chances but weren't efficient enough, but it doesn't matter. The most important thing is getting three points away from home.

    "There was a good rhythm and a good relationship between our players."

    Motherwell: Graeme Smith, Kerr, Craigan, Paul Quinn, Robert Donnelly, Foran (Fitzpatrick 78), O'Donnell, McGarry (Clarkson 78), Paterson, McCormack (McDonald 61), Hamilton.

    Subs Not Used: Meldrum, McBride, Connolly, Soutar.

    Booked: Fitzpatrick.

    Goal: O'Donnell 52.

    Rangers: Letizi, Hutton, Svensson, Rodriguez, Smith, Sionko (Novo 80), Clement, Hemdani, Adam, Prso, Buffel (N'Diaye 90).

    Subs Not Used: McGregor, Rae, Pierre-Fanfan, Namouchi, Ashikodi.

    Booked: Prso.

    Goals: Sionko 8, Prso 65.

    Att: 11,745

    Ref: J Underhill


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