Rangers set up Old Firm final

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Steven Naismith grabbed the winner as Rangers beat Motherwell 2-1 to set up an Old Firm showdown with Celtic in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final.

Celtic had thrashed Aberdeen 24 hours earlier before cup holders Rangers were made to work harder for their own victory at Hampden.

Maurice Edu's opener was cancelled out by Keith Lasley but Naismith's goal proved decisive as Rangers ensured they would be back at the national stadium on March 20.

With the game televised live, the national stadium was far from full but the Motherwell fans were encouraged when Jamie Murphy had an effort on goal after a minute but Neil Alexander saved with ease.

In the 15th minute Edu burrowed his way in to the Motherwell box before slipping the ball to Nikica Jelavic who played it back to Lee McCulloch whose drive from the edge of the box was wide of the target.

Stuart McCall's side were working hard to contain Rangers but their task became all the more difficult when Edu gave the Light Blues the lead with a wonderful strike. The roving Kyle Lafferty cut in the from the left-hand side and released the ball to the USA international who moved it on to his left foot before thundering it past Darren Randolph from 25 yards.

There was hardly a rousing fight back from the Lanarkshire club, however on the half-hour mark left back Steven Hammell's corner found the unmarked Tom Hateley 25 yards from goal but the son of the former Rangers striker, Mark Hateley, blazed the ball high over the bar.

John Fleck replaced Lafferty in the 64th minute but two minutes later the Steelmen were level through Lasley. As the Fir Park side swarmed around the Ibrox penalty area, Murphy played the ball in to John Sutton who stretched to lay it off to the former Plymouth player who drilled it low past Alexander from 20 yards.

With 15 minutes remaining there was relief among the nervy Rangers supporters when Naismith put the Govan club back in front with a well-worked goal. Steven Davis' long, diagonal pass found Jelavic wide on the left and when he moved in to the box and cut the ball back, the former Kilmarnock player had the easiest of tasks heading in from six yards.

Motherwell were clearly deflated but reasserted themselves, pinning Rangers in to their own half and with five minutes remaining Well full-back Steven Saunders came close with a header from six yards out which Alexander was grateful to save.

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Steven Davis
Kyle Lafferty
John Sutton
Darren Randolph
Steven Davis
Tom Hateley
Plymouth Argyle

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