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Jamie Murphy earns Rangers a point after Motherwell squander two-goal lead

Rangers Jamie Murphy (centre) is congratulated by team-mates Josh Windass and Graham Dorrans after he scored the equalising goal (Ian Rutherford/PA Wire)
Rangers Jamie Murphy (centre) is congratulated by team-mates Josh Windass and Graham Dorrans after he scored the equalising goal (Ian Rutherford/PA Wire)

JAMIE MURPHY rescued Rangers on his Fir Park return as the Ibrox men hit back for a 2-2 draw with Motherwell.

Gers were looking to bounce back after successive defeats to Celtic and Kilmarnock but strikes from Curtis Main and Allan Campbell put Stephen Robinson’s well-drilled outfit on the verge of handing the Light Blues a third straight league defeat.

However, a James Tavernier penalty just after half-time gave the visitors hope before on-loan Brighton winger Murphy – back at the ground where he started his career for the first time since departing for England in 2013 – rifled Rangers level to spare them their worst top-flight run of losses since October 2000.

Those defeats to Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops and Steve Clarke’s on-form Killie seemed to have robbed Gers of the verve they had built up under Graeme Murty and it showed during a shambolic opening 45 minutes.

It took the hosts just nine minutes to exploit Rangers’ fragile confidence as Bruno Alves got caught the wrong side of Main as he flicked the ball to Chris Cadden.

As the winger set himself to turn he found himself flattened by Russell Martin’s clumsy barge.It was an unnecessary challenge and Main made him pay as he tucked home after referee Nick Walsh pointed to the spot.

The build-up to the game had focused on whether Gers could cope with Well’s physical approach and the doubts appeared well-founded as they conceded again after 16 minutes.

Martin failed to tidy up in midfield, allowing the excellent Main to pounce on a loose ball before muscling Tavernier out of the way. His slide-pass ball for Campbell was perfect, who steered a tidy finish past Wes Foderingham for number two.

Murphy tried to lead Rangers’ response but saw Trevor Carson get a firm wrist to his low drive while Alfredo Morelos had a strike deflected wide.

But Well could have struck again before the interval. Cadden’s shot clipped the top of the crossbar while Martin had to dive in at the last second to prevent Campbell netting again after the youngster was given the freedom of the box to drive forward.

Gers got their lifeline six minutes after the restart though as Walsh pointed to the spot again – although it was a dubious call to say the least.

Elliott Frear got caught in a tangle of legs with Tavernier but definitely got a touch on the ball. It made no matter to Tavernier, who chipped the spot-kick down the middle.

And Rangers incredibly found themselves level just two minutes later as Murphy drove in from the left before drilling a stunning strike into the bottom corner.

But the action almost took another twist as Main came close to regaining Well’s lead as his dipping strike crashed off the bar moments later.

However, the striker almost cost his side as he gifted possession to Josh Windass but Carson rescued him by blocking as Daniel Candeias burst into the box.

Gers piled forward looking for a winner but Well stubbornly resisted as they clung on for a result which now leaves Murty’s hopes of retaining his position beyond the summer hanging by a thread.

Read full report and analysis in Post Match, inside tomorrow’s Sunday Post