Three changes for Rangers in the second match of the Veolia trophy as Rangers faced Nice in match day two. Allan McGregor returned between the posts and Jermain Defoe led the line with Glenn Kamara in midfield. Jon McLaughlin, Steven Davis and Alfredo Morelos would drop down to the bench.
With only two minutes gone quick play by Aribo played in Defoe who hit the goalkeeper from close range but the offside flag would be up in any case. Rangers settled quicker than Thursday against the young opposition, knocking it about and controlling the early tempo. In the eighth minute the referee would show a yellow card after a crude challenge on Ianis Hagi, an early indication that he would not be as relaxed as his counter part on Thursday. From that free kick would come a corner which Connor Goldson sent over when he should have done better.
Rangers were in control and in 15 mins a lovely move sent Kent down the left to cut it back to Hagi who this time was blocked for a corner, a move that was similar to the one that saw Hagi get his second on Thursday. The game would become scrappy in the middle 15 of the first as both teams were loose in possession, this broken only by a jinking run and shot by Ryan Kent which went well wide. That sparked Rangers though and Ianis Hagi was next to fire in an effort which tested the goalkeeper for the first time properly.
On the 40th minute a slick break from Rangers, after good ball winning by Aribo and a slick pass by Kamara, released Ryan Kent who fed in to Jermain Defoe who took a touch before finishing well with his left foot – 1-0 Rangers and no more than we had deserved at this point.
Rangers had been in second gear for most of the first half but you just got the impression when we upped the gears we were capable of producing such a moment. Half time would come after a couple of corners for Nice which wouldn’t lead to anything significant. Rangers can be a lot better on the ball but with players finding fitness that sharpness and intensity will come. I thought Joe Aribo was very good and when he wins the ball there always seems to be possibilities for Rangers, I can’t help but feel there is an absolute gem in that player if we can just entice it out of him on a more consistent basis.
HT Nice 0 Rangers 1
No changes for Rangers at HT and George Edmundson was quickly cautioned after some sloppy play, it is that type of mistake he needs to learn to cut out if he is to be a part of our first choice centre back pairing, but that is being harsh as he has been otherwise excellent and a player I do like the look of.
In 61 minutes Rangers were torn apart by Nice and Claude Maurice put it wide when one on one with McGregor. That was the key for a raft of substitutions for both sides and Rangers would introduce Alfredo Morelos, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield, Calvin Bassey and the returning Jamie Murphy. Glenn Kamara, Borna Barisic, Ianis Hagi, Jermain Defoe and Ryan Jack would make way and they will be pleased with more minutes in pre-season.
Nice experienced players began to show immediately and only a block from Edmundson would deflect an effort wide after the same player had given it away at the back once more. On 70 minutes a nice switch gave Nice another opportunity which was blazed over but a minute later they were on the attack again but this time McGregor was down smartly to his left to block. Rangers were now in a game and for the first time were under threat by Nice who were now lined up to closer to their full strength.
Rangers went straight up the field and wonderful skill by Ryan Kent with a nice shot produced a decent save, that was much more like the Ryan Kent we want to see and he has looked lively in this match. This game was end to end now and Nice were in again as a cross to the back post produced a shot which forced McGregor into another smart save.
Greg Stewart would replace Ryan Kent and he was crudely hacked down which produced a yellow card for the Nice defender, it was a sharp introduction for Greg. That free kick from James Tavernier would force the goalkeeper into a routine save after a flick from Goldson. Jamie Barjonas, Glenn Middleton and Nathan Paterson would also get the final five minutes as Tavernier, Edmundson and Aribo would make way. Barjonas would test the goalkeeper in the final minutes with a routine drive and Jamie Murphy would be denied with a late block when squaring it to Alfredo Morelos would have sealed it perfectly.
But Rangers did get that second and it was Jamie Barjonas who broke in from the Left to tuck it under the goalkeeper and claim a 2-0 victory for Rangers. It was a lovely finish by the player and thoroughly deserved for a bright cameo in which he always looks to get a shot or two away. We would get that icing on the cake after all.
2-0 Rangers Full time
Rangers will be delighted with both 90 minutes and getting silverware is always a nice habit to get into as victories here mean taking home the Veolia trophy. More importantly Rangers have looked well organised and capable in spells of both matches, that gives us plenty to build on with the season kicking off two weeks today.
Of course, there was also time for another little sing song from the supporters who had made their way to support the team, ‘Follow Follow Glasgow Rangers’ indeed
Well done Rangers
Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise 🔴⚪️🔵