Rangers welcomed Brighton to Ibrox today in our fourth pre season outing. With Real visiting tomorrow it was a mixed selection with most being saved for that fixture. But a huge opportunity for those who did start to make an impression with league duty resuming imminently.
The players received a fantastic welcome even for the warm up, louder just than the returning Shane Duffy who started for the visitors. It is tremendous to see our supporters back and with restrictions, hopefully, continuing to be relaxed, it won’t be long before Ibrox is full and able to salute the champions.
Rangers went with a largely changed eleven, Jon McLaughlin started in goals with Simpson, Balogun in front, Paterson and Bassey covered the full back positions. There was a welcome glimpse of Niko Katic on the bench also.
In the middle, Glenn Kamara and Scott Arfield sandwiched promising youngster Steven Kelly who has had a bright pre-season. Cedric Itten leads the line with Jordan Jones and Scott Wright providing the ammunition.
Brighton had recognisable names like Dan Burn, Adam Lallana, Pascal Gross, Neal Maupay as well as Shane Duffy in their eleven.
Rangers knocked the ball about well in the first half, largely in control with the main chances no more than half efforts at goal. Brighton took a while but dominated the ball in the last 15mins without creating much.
But for a largely changed eleven the manager will be pleased with what they produced in the first half. Patterson, Kelly and Kamara hugely impressive.
First half action:
6 mins – Itten steals the ball from the Gk and exchanges passes with Wright before the ball is cleared off the line.
10-13 mins – A Calvin Bassey header produces a simple catch from Scherpen before Balogun forces a similar routine stop. Scott Wright has a deflected effort easily caught also.
21-22 mins – Jordan Jones and Scott Arfield force Scherpen into easy routine stops.
28 mins – Move of the half from Rangers, a quick break and Itten links with Wright who runs at Brighton before being taken down. Stephen Kelly clears the bar with subsequent free kick.
45 mins – Brighton pressure without much happening results in Zeqiri shot which McLaughlin smothers.
HT – Rangers 0 Brighton 0
HT changes – Niko Katic for Jack Simpson, Ianis Hagi and John Lundstram for Kamara and Arfield.
50 mins – Good move from Rangers and a clipped effort by Bassey ends up a throw.
More changes – Borna Barisic for Bassey, Defoe for Itten, Fashion for Wright.
61 mins – POST! John Lundstram picks the ball up and curls an effort off the woodwork.
Changes – Tavernier replaces Patterson, Goldson for Balogun, Davis for Kelly, Kent for Jones.
80 mins – Ball in Net but chopped off! Hagi robs the defender and finished but whistle already gone, but it’s a very soft decision.
FT – Rangers 0 Brighton 0
A clean sheet is welcomed and sharpness clearly returning. We should have won the match, still lacking a bit around the final third which will hopefully come as we head into tomorrow’s glamour game with Real Madrid.
Nathan Patterson and Stephen Kelly the stand out performers, doing theirselves no harm at all with their performances.
Good to see a stronger eleven finish and I’d imagine tomorrow will see them start the game in our last official pre-season game.
Onto Real Madrid now, it doesn’t come much tougher!