Last gasp Peter Hartley goal earns Motherwell 3-3 draw against Rangers

Motherwell skipper Peter Hartley scored a last gasp equaliser to earn a 3-3 draw against Rangers on Sunday (Pic by Ian McFadyen)
Motherwell skipper Peter Hartley scored a last gasp equaliser to earn a 3-3 draw against Rangers on Sunday (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

An injury time equaliser by Peter Hartley earned Motherwell a deserved draw against Rangers after a high octane Scottish Premiership battle at Fir Park on Sunday, writes Craig Goldthorp.

Hartley's goal was thoroughly deserved for a Motherwell team who dominated long spells of the second half and had 85 per cent possession during a 20-minute spell.
Motherwell stunned the Ibrox side after just two minutes in this live BT Sport clash when Chris Cadden's long ball forward was gathered by Danny Johnson and he coolly lobbed the ball over Allan McGregor.
With the fierce pace unrelenting, Kyle Lafferty then had an effort saved by Trevor Carson at the other end before play raged to the other end where Cadden's fine cross from the right was just missed by Andy Rose in the middle.
The Steelmen came close again when fine build-up play by Gael Bigirimana preceded a Main head flick to the dangerous Johnson whose lob was saved.
And Well paid for this when Rangers netted a 15th minute equaliser when a cross was partially cleared to Lafferty whose volley from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection off Tait on its way past Carson.
But, incredibly, Motherwell were ahead again within just two minutes as Bigirimana's long sweeping free-kick from the right was headed in superbly by Carl McHugh.
The action was unrelenting with Rangers then forcing a couple of chances as Andy Halliday's left footer was deflected wide, James Tavernier surged forward before shooting off target and Morelos raced forward and had a shot brilliantly blocked by Tom Aldred.
But the Light Blues did equalise on 37 minutes when Tavernier's cross from the right was headed in by Lafferty, with the Well defence missing.
And there was further heartache for the hosts three minutes before half-time when Ovie Ejaria cut in and scored with a shot which Carson - who got a hand to the effort - will be disappointed he didn't keep out.
If the first half was non stop action, there was a relative lull early in the second period.
But Motherwell came close to levelling in the 68th minute when Tait linked with Main before the rampaging fullback shot just wide.
Claret and amber pressure continued as they forced a series of corners.
With 10 minutes remaining, Hartley headed over a Bigirimana delivery, before Main nodded just off target after a cross by substitute Elliott Frear.
A Tait cross from the right then sent Frear up the left wing to play in fellow sub Conor Sammon, whose shot was deflected for a corner.
But the Steelmen did earn a deserved point late on when Hartley forced the ball in from close range after another Bigirimana flag kick, sparking wild scenes of celebration among the Motherwell players as they mobbed Hartley who had been public enemy number one with Rangers before the game due to inflammatory pre-match comments which he later apologised for.
The point, Motherwell's first of the season, lifts them off the bottom of the Premiership table ahead of next weekend's trip to Dundee.

Motherwell: Carson, Tait, McHugh, Aldred, Hartley, Cadden, Campbell (Frear 73), Main, Rose (Bowman 83), Bigirimana, Johnson (Sammon 73).
Referee: Craig Thomson
Crowd: 9545

Peter Hartley netted a late equaliser

Peter Hartley netted a late equaliser

Andy Rose and his Motherwell mates celebrate Peter Hartley's last gasp leveller (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

Andy Rose and his Motherwell mates celebrate Peter Hartley's last gasp leveller (Pic by Ian McFadyen)