The impact from 73 minutes of the combination of Cedric Itten, Ianis Hagi and Joe Aribo cannot be underestimated.
It was the clear changing point of the match, where a game which threatened to be a second shock defeat in a row for so long became a borderline comfortable victory.
If there was one flaw in the starting XI, an XI most of us considered Rangers’ strongest, it was the lack of naturally creative players.
For a match facing Motherwell who were out for survival, while hindsight is a wonderful thing, nevertheless the real lack of invention in the starting XI certainly played a major part in Rangers’ staleness.
And by this we don’t mean Kent and Roofe, who while being incredibly hard-working wingers, aren’t necessarily the most inventive. It wasn’t till Aribo and Hagi came on, along with Itten, that Rangers started to finally get behind Motherwell, to hurt them.
And there’s two ways of looking at this:
1: Stevie got the starting team wrong – as we said, we were a little surprised he didn’t consider Joe Aribo part of his strongest team. What’s more telling is he didn’t start such a creative player for a match against a low block.
2: Stevie nailed the subs and corrected his own errors.
That creativity, that spark, that ingenuity, had been dreadfully lacking in this one – obviously it’s hard to play against the low block, and you need your most imaginative players, and that all three of the subs scored or created all three of the goals tells you everything.
That Rangers have these options, and when things aren’t going our way, we have the players to turn it around.
Rangers brought on a £3M player, another £3M player, and a player who in time looks like he could be a real asset with a massive value. That we have such quality to go to a plan B is a real testament to what Stevie has built here.
He’s even allowed a mistake or two…