GRAEME Murty got the win he so desperately wanted but the performance of his team was someway short of being encouraging.

At least Rangers beat Motherwell and at least they prevented the run of defeats stretching to three in a row. But with a certain fixture just days away, this group must find something more. A lot more.

Rarely will a Rangers support travel to Celtic Park with as little hope as they surely will on Saturday morning. This win, while welcome and deserved, won’t fool many.

Rangers were weak at times, worryingly so for their manager, as they have been at Ibrox for most of this season.

True, Motherwell were cynical, bordering on the downright dirty on occasion, but that’s Scottish football for you and there were too many in blue, in this and previous matches, who simply don’t fancy it when the tackles go flying in.

On paper, which is what team lines are usually written on, it was a less than strong Rangers side. Niko Krancjar got his first start for over three months, while Eduardo Herrera, who has been a few levels below average so far, began up-front.

Neither did anything of any real note. It would be a real risk to throw either in against Celtic.

Going back to the League Cup final defeat by Celtic, Motherwell had lost five and drawn twice with no wins going into this game. All they really wanted from Ibrox was a draw. It was all they tried to get.

The Lanarkshire men set out with five across the midfield in an attempt to suffocate Rangers. It worked for a while but, my goodness, it wasn’t pretty.

In saying all that, within 33 seconds, Motherwell should have taken the lead.

Teams find it ever so easy to get behind the Rangers defence and before a blue shirt had touched the ball, Craig Tanner was onside courtesy of a clever Alex Fisher flick, got inside the box and with only Wes Foderingham to beat. And he put his shot right at the goalkeeper.

James Tavernier got the home team going after ten minutes with a good run and shot which was always going over but at least showed some positivity.

And Tavernier was the architect three minutes later of a move which really should have ended with a Rangers goal.

The right-back’s looped pass took out every Motherwell player and found Krancjar ten yards from goal, the midfielder’s first-time effort was blocked by the arms of Trevor Carson, the ball fell loose to Alfredo Morelos whose attempt was wild.

Motherwell were forced into a change on 18 minutes when captain Bob McHugh had to go off, he’d taken a few sore ones, to be replaced by Allan Campbell.

Declan John sent a shot into the arms of Motherwell keeper Carson and Herrera headed wide at the near post when he should have done better but, in truth, there was little to get excited about for much of the first-half.

Rangers huffed, Motherwell puffed while spending most of their time making clearances.

The night took a sad turn for the home side not long before the break when Ryan Jack, who had been playing well, was caught by Cedric Kipre as he slid in to make a pass. The midfielder never got off the ground and was carried off after receiving quite a bit of treatment.

If Jack is out of the Celtic game then he will be a big miss.

To be fair to the Motherwell defender, and this is with the naked eye, there appeared not be no malice involved. Jamie Barjonas was sent on by Murty.

Kipre did get booked moments later for clumsily clattering into Herrera who ended up with a bloody nose, which has become a theme from this fixture. It wasn’t far from a red card. Richard Tait soon joined him in the book for booting Jason Holt.

Deep into the eight minutes of added on time, a backheel from Fisher found Tanner whose well timed run got him around the Rangers backline and his shot across goal was only a few inches off target.

Morelos at least forced Carson into a save on the 55th minute and from the resultant corner, Rangers scored.

Krancjar’s corner was defended but not cleared, Bruno Alves cushioned the ball into Danny Wilson's path and the defender took on the shot first time with his left foot, the ball screaming into the top corner.

Ryan Bowman came on for Motherwell, and to predictable boos, as Stephen Robinson tweaked his side so that they would become more attacking. Not that they could have been any more defensive.

The pattern of the game hardly changed.

On 60 minutes, Motherwell’s Carson saved from Morelos then got back on his feet to bring off a better stop to deny Barjonas who must have thought his powerful drive from 20 yards was going in.

Rangers were by now playing a bit of football and thoroughly earned their second goal on 75 minutes.

The busy Carson had just saved well from Herrera at the front post when, within seconds, Morelos found himself with enough space and time inside the area to deal with a bouncing ball which he then delivered into the net.

That's 12 for the season for the striker. He has done fine.

In the end, Rangers won comfortably and scored two goal goals, but Murty will know his team won' beat Celtic playing like that.

Rangers: Foderingham; Tavernier, Wilson, Alves, John; McCrorie, Jack (Barjonas 38), Krancjar (Pena 82), Holt; Herrera, Morelos (Hardie 82)

Substitutes not used: Kelly, Hodson, Candeias, Bates

Motherwell: Carson; Kipre, Hartley, Dunne; Tait, Tanner, McHugh (Campbell 18), Bigirimana, Grimshaw, Rose (Bowman 61); Fisher (Newell 77)

Substitutes not used: Xenodochov, Hammell, Bowman, MacLean, Turnbull

Referee: John Beaton

Attendance: 49,273