Rangers final pre-season test saw newly promoted English Championship side Coventry visit Ibrox. Rangers started with the eleven which I fully expect to see start our first league match next week against Aberdeen.
Rangers were impressive in France and hammered an unusually open Motherwell side but Coventry was a test even if their first outing this pre-season. An immediate bonus was the return to the squad of Filip Helander which answers various questions on his fitness.
Rangers honoured David Hagen with a minutes silence prior to the match. David sadly lost his life yesterday after a brave battle against MND. David played for Rangers and managed to break into the side which came so close to European glory in the 1992-93 season.
David scored three times for Rangers, it was against Hearts on the opening day of the 1993-94 six in a row campaign, that he scored what was to be the first Rangers goal I ever witnessed at our stadium.
Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.
Rest in Peace David
It quickly became evident why Coventry had been chosen as Rangers final opposition, they were well drilled and a very hard working side. Rangers had a flurry of early corners which didn’t lead to anything of note. It was Coventry who had the first effort with a shot from range but they made Rangers work with a deep defensive set up and quick break.
Nice link up from Alfredo resulted in a headed chance which drifted wide and only a near post defensive block stopped the now well rehearsed Barisic to Hagi cut back. Two drives from Ryan Kent drifted wide before the game then opened up on 40 minutes.
Good steal from Aribo released Alfredo who was to be blocked but the ball then made it’s way to Ryan Jack who’s low effort was blocked wide.
Half time arrived with scores level but only after Rangers survived a counter attack which lead to Coventry putting the ball in the net, only for the Assistant to raise his flag.
More urgency and tempo is needed from Rangers in these types of games, watching I couldn’t help but feel those bad habits were sneaking back in with some phases of play.
Rangers 0-0 Coventry HT
No changes for Rangers at HT but hard not to imagine that the manager didn’t demand more from our players. Rangers did start more brightly and with more tempo, Morelos winning the ball back quickly and Aribo picked it up.
A Sharp one two with Alfredo Morelos and Joe Aribo found himself with the opportunity which he took beautifully with his left foot. A quick goal and of everyone, Aribo looked the one the most likely. He is quickly finding himself the main attacking threat in the side.
Rangers were firmly in control now and dictating the tempo, with Coventry having made a host of changes, Barisic and Jack having efforts blocked.
A triple Rangers substitution heralded the return of Filip Helander, Brandon Barker and Scott Arfield also entered the fray.
James Tavernier then missed a half decent header at the back post after good work from Ryan Kent. A kent drive, two routine McGregor saves featured in a busy period with an outstanding move and save then denying Ianis Hagi.
But that only delayed Rangers slightly as moments later a great ball in from a James Tavernier free kick was bulleted home by Connor Goldson for a deserved second.
Rangers well in control by now and Nathan Paterson looked to be in with a decent penalty shout which was turned down. Calvin Bassey, Jamie Barjonas, Greg Stewart and Jamie Murphy then got ten minutes as Rangers finished up their pre-season.
An excellent block from the impressive Goldson lead to a Coventry corner which saw Rangers break out quickly from. Paterson involved in the break and only a block prevented Stewart adding a third.
But on final whistle Rangers winning 2-0 and end with another clean sheet.
It’s been a very worth while work out for the club and the first half much like what we will face on a weekly basis in the league, it is that deep defence and hard working set up that Rangers will have to break down if we have any chance this season.
Moments of magic from Joe Aribo are welcomed and will certainly be the difference if Rangers are to have a successful season.
Pre-season is done and now the real fun begins.