Wednesday 25th of September 1963. The last visit of the mighty Real Madrid to Ibrox stadium. A late Puskas goal would give Real the victory and Ibrox would be appreciative of the global superstars of Madrid upon the final whistle.
Fast forward to present day and Madrid are back in town. Not quite with the wealthy superstars that litter their squad, but still with one that boasts the world class talents of Nacho, Marchelo, Odegaard, Isco, Jovic and Rodrygo. Rangers fans were equally as appreciative and excited as they stood to welcome Madrid as they warmed up.
This is Real Madrid. At Ibrox. Wow!
It doesn’t come much bigger and when they do play glamour games, they are most always exactly that. We should be delighted they have chosen to play us but this is Rangers, they should be flattered they were asked!
After a much sharper and better performance yesterday against Brighton, Rangers will be determined to build on that and add the goals that haven’t been as free flowing in pre season so far. However, that was the only thing missing yesterday and we will be looking for more quality today also.
It’s been a different pre season so far, with half a dozen out internationally and a few more with injuries, it has meant Rangers have had to mix things up quite a lot. But this will have taught the manager a lot and there are plenty of positives to take so far.
Stephen Kelly was sensational yesterday and has grabbed his opportunity so far. What impresses me us his ability to play a pass which doesn’t phase him, he doesn’t choose the easy option and he is precise with it also. Nathan Patterson is a once in a generation full back, he has all the ability and will be a terrific weapon for us going forward.
So two youngsters who have grabbed their opportunity. But this afternoon it’s the turn of the ‘First team’ as several recognisable faces return to the squad.
Allan McGregor kept goal, with James Tavernier and Borna Barisic at Full back. Connor Goldson and Filip Helander at Centre back. In the middle, Steven Davis is shadowed by John Lundstram and Ianis Hagi. Still no Alfredo up top so Ryan Kent is wide left, with Scott Wright on the opposite flank and a start for Fashion Sakala through the middle.
First half action
2 mins – CHANCE! Brilliant play releases Lundstram who fizzes it across goal, Sakala is blocked as he tries to nip in. Almost a perfect start!
3 mins – Sakala in on the left and fires a shot across the face of goal, the flags up but even this early he looks the part.
8 mins – GOAL! Real catch Rangers after a cut back is gathered and they break at speed. Rodrygo sells a dummy and lifts a finish over McGregor. 0-1 Real
10 mins – POST! Kent skins his man and fires one off the outside of the post, good response from Rangers.
16-18mins – Sakala at the heart of everything as he has an effort over then immediately goes on a run which produces a close effort to win a corner.
22 mins – Barisic screws a shot wide, a difficult chance.
28 mins – BAR! Kent must score but hits bar after excellent work by Wright to Sakala who’s shot falls for Kent. He has to score! 0-1
30 mins – Hagi FK is saved, it’s a decent effort
33 mins! DOUBLE SAVE! Kent has a brilliant low effort which Lunin is at full stop to save before Rangers work it again to Lundstram but again Lunin saves – Excellent play from Rangers. 0-1
38 mins – FOUL! Marcelo crudely takes out Wright with a nasty challenge, as I am in the press area I am polite and quiet. Needless to say if I had been in the Sandy Jardine front, he may have heard me!
41 mins – wonderful run by Kent as he skins 3 Real players, stadium are on their feet. I get the feeling Kent is beginning to realise just how good he is.
HT – Rangers have been brilliant. Yes behind but application and play top class. We should be level at worst but absolutely loads to be happy with.
We look sharp and playing with the desire we want, friendly or not. Really pleased with this half so far, despite being behind.
Rangers 0 Real Madrid 1
HT Changes – Arfield, Kamara and Simpson on. Helander, Wright and Lundstram off.
53 mins – CHANCE! A slower start but a clear chance for Real, Isco from a cut back and he heads over! That was an opportunity.
55 mins – GOAL!!! Ibrox erupts as Sakala wins it and passes Nacho to skelp it home for his first Rangers goal, he’s deserved it, he’s lively and he’s going to be a player for us. Least we have deserved. 1-1!
60 mins – Sakala, Barisic, Kent, Hagi all leave the field. Bassey, Patterson, Middleton and Itten are on.
69 mins – Pace has slowed due to subs but Rangers spark into life resulting in a snap shot for Itten which is easily saved.
70 mins – POST! Real starting to get stronger and impose themselves as Gutierrez strikes the base of the post, similar to Kents effort in the first half! Time for water as Jones replaces the skipper James Tavernier.
75 mins – RED! Nacho is off for a second yellow but easily could have been a straight red. He’s high on Kamara. Real down to Ten.
77 mins – GOAL!!! Swiss Bliss! Super Ced puts Rangers ahead. Rangers have been excellent and that was a super finish, low and hard on the turn. He cups his ears to the Copland! It’s Rangers 2 Real Madrid 1!
78 mins – NOTE TO AUTHOR…. KEEP CALM!
78 mins and twenty seconds – WE ARE GOING TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!!!!
80 mins – I am calm again, chewing midget gems like they are going out of fashion, Rangers knocking it about nicely. I know it’s only a friendly!
85 mins – Balogun and Kelly replace Davis and Goldson. Both excellent today.
88 mins – Superb defending by Patterson as Marcelo runs it out. Rangers guilty of over playing it slightly.
MOTM – Fashion Sakala. It’s deserved. He’s exciting!
FT – Rangers 2 Real Madrid 1
Absolutely brilliant by Rangers. Don’t forget that was our second game in 24 hours and the effort was fantastic. Brilliant performance and yes it was only a friendly but I’m delighted.
That’s the Rangers we know, sharp and aggressive play. Ibrox was rocking at times.
Huge individual performances throughout and everyone looked like they were ready. That’s answered the questions of those who were worried we maybe didn’t look as sharp, we are a very good side.
Friendlies don’t mean much, it’s about match fitness but I loved every second of it. Oh and Fashion Sakala is going to be a star!
Rangers 2 Real Madrid 1