Rangers drew 0-0 with Brighton yesterday in what was an ultimately bright ‘un. Ok, terrible puns aside, it was a sprightly and energetic match which had everything bar goals, and we must admit Rangers’ slightly ponderous pre-season took a big step up with a far more energetic and positive display.
Interestingly, Stevie G opted to select a mostly fringe side, with just Glen Kamara and Ianis Hagi starting who could consider themselves regulars in the XI.
And the energy we got from 9-10 players desperate to prove themselves was a massive hike over the lumbering stuff we’ve seen up till now.
From Jack Simpson showing his impressive left peg in defence, to Nathan Patterson’s marauding runs down the right, to Stephen Kelly’s composed and mature work in midfield, to Cedric Itten’s good lay up work and movement, all the way through to a mobile and thrifty showing from Jordan Jones, this friendly gave the stage to the fringe players to show what they can do. Scott Wright was once again determined to prove himself.
And they did so. True, there was a bit of a lack of threat in the final third, and Jermain Defoe’s beleaguered cameo in the second half did nothing to add any fire to that, but overall the fringe squad and the first half definitely impressed enough to show that despite the underwhelming prior friendlies, the fringe players might not be as weak as we feared.
With Real Madrid today, the squad fodder picked a good time to show up, because that kind of display will have them breathing down the seniors’ necks and pressuring the stars to perform.
About time they had that kind of pressure because Stevie’s favourites haven’t shone too many times since the turn of the year, and it’s welcome to have more players staking a claim.
We’re likely to see a much ‘stronger’ starting XI for Carlo Ancelotti’s men – hopefully the performance reflects what the squad men did on Saturday.