That was not in the plan
By Grahame Greeen
Updated Monday, 28th February 2011
This is the time for the players to ignore what the media says and get on with the main task in hand; winning the league
Motherwell's win on Sunday will have encouraged Rangers that they stand a better chance of overhauling Celtic to the SPL title. However, I am confident that the setback will be used by manager Neil Lennon to galvanise the squad to deliver better performance and levels of concentration. John Sutton's double and Rangers 4-0 win over St Johnstone means that Rangers are five points behind the league leaders but have two games in hand. While points on the board may appear to provide some comfort, Walter Smith knows the chasing a leader gives you something to aim for and defending a lead can make a team nervous and lose focus as they, metaphorically, look over their shoulder at the challengers.
After Sunday's game Lennon said: "They have had a lot of nice things said about them this week and maybe they were believing in their own publicity. By our performance, maybe we underestimated them. I didn't sense that in the week but there was a lack of competitiveness about us and quality, we did the opposite to what we have been doing the last couple of months and to be fair to them they have been excellent so I won't be over critical. But it was poor. We were poor defensively, poor in midfield and poor going forward. There was nothing positive to take from the game. There was no collectiveness about us, we were disjointed and the goals we lost were appalling. You can't give any team cheap goals and expect to win games. You can make up excuses for the pitch but it was the same for both sides. We didn't adapt to the conditions and we were second best. It's not a criticism I can level at the players very often but Motherwell were hungrier. Any time we have had a poor performances we have bounced back pretty well and I am looking for a reaction now in the next nine, 10 games."
While Motherwell's penalty was disputable, Lennon said: "We had an opportunity to clear after Hutchinson hit the bar and it should have been cleared but it wasn't. We got on the wrong side of Lasley and when you make a challenge on the wrong side ultimately you can either bring him down for a free-kick or a penalty and that's what happened. Listen, we got what we deserved - nothing."