Rangers enjoyed their most comfortable win yet under Michael Beale with a 3-0 victory over Motherwell to set up nicely an Old Firm showdown.
After three cinch Premiership wins out of three for the new Gers boss, all by a one-goal margin, there was an element of control for Beale’s side when striker Alfredo Morelos scored in the 13th minute with a header before defender Connor Goldson’s counter after 38 minutes.
Midfielder Malik Tillman added a third in the 63rd minute but despite the welcome three points, it is evidently still a work in progress in Govan.
Beale faces his biggest Light Blue test to date on January 2 when leaders Celtic visit Ibrox and progress will be measured under much more difficult conditions.
The Gers squad is becoming healthier by the game – albeit worryingly for Gers fans Morelos limped off in the second half – and although strikers Kemar Roofe and Antonio Colak were both available again, they were not in the squad.
Goalkeeper Allan McGregor and left-back Borna Barisic were reinstated along with Ryan Jack, Morelos and 19-year-old midfielder Alex Lowry, the latter making his first start since May.
Fir Park boss Steven Hammell dropped striker Kevin Van Veen to the bench with Dean Cornelius coming into midfield.
The visitors were handed an opportunity in six minutes after John Lundstram’s short pass to Ben Davies saw Well striker Connor Shields intercept and race towards the Gers goal.
McGregor raced from goal to make a tackle of sorts with the back-tracking Davies completing the clearance for a corner which came to nothing.
Then came a no-fuss goal for Rangers when a terrific cross from Barisic found Morelos six yards out and he powered a header past Fir Park keeper Liam Kelly.
However, there were occasional Gers lapses and in the 34th minute Cornelius had time and space to get a shot away inside the Gers box but it was blocked by Davies.
Three minutes later, Goldson headed into the net off the crossbar from a Barisic corner which allowed Ibrox to relax a little.
Just before the break a sweeping Gers moved ended with Tillman setting up Morelos but Kelly made a fine save from the low drive from 16 yards.
Five minutes after the interval a toe-poke from Lowry after Kelly had failed to deal with a Barisic corner was cleared off the line by Callum Slattery.
Rangers kept pressing but the fans were demanding a higher tempo.
On the hour-mark Well defender Rickie Lamie cleared off the line after a clever back-heel from Morelos, who had muscled his way into the Fir Park penalty area.
However, minutes later, when the Colombian striker squared to Tillman just insde the box he took a touch and drove through the legs of defender Matthew Penney and into the corner of the net.
Then came a clutch of substitutes for both sides but it was earlier Well replacement Van Veen who had the ball in the Rangers net only for VAR to confirm offside.
There was some concern for Rangers when Morelos came off after pulling up, to be replaced by Rabbi Matondo, who was denied by Kelly in the 84th minute and in added time, although he was offside for the latter opportunity.
The last fixture of the year proved positive for Rangers but the first of 2023 promises a much tougher challenge.