RANGERS played out their second training game of the new season as they defeated Welsh side The New Saints at the Hummel Training Centre.
Jermain Defoe’s first-half goal was the only goal of the game as Steven Gerrard played a different side in each half.
TNS are also in the middle of their pre-season preparations with Champions League qualifiers starting next week. But it was Rangers who started the brighter, keeping a quick tempo from the off and playing confidently out from the back with George Edmundson partnering Connor Goldson.
Defoe’s goal came on 14 minutes. Allan McGregor responded to James Tavernier’s calls to release him early after the keeper collected a corner. With the ball rolled into his feet the full-back drove forward through the middle before a cute lay off to his left to play in Sheyi Ojo. He was unselfish in his play to square to Defoe and with the keeper already committed to the Liverpool loanee the 36-year-old tapped into an open goal.
Six minutes after their first Rangers could have doubled the lead. Greg Docherty swung a low free-kick round The New Saints wall and it forced goalkeeper Paul Harrison into a good save at his near post. Ojo couldn’t gobble up the loose ball and the danger was everted.
Midway through the first-half Defoe was presented with another chance just a few yards out. Ojo’s corner from the right looped over the box and fell at the striker’s feet. His left footed shot at the back post was straight at the TNS stopper though. Almost immediately the Gers threatened again. Docherty cut back to Joe Aribo and once again Harrison denied the Light Blues.
Jordan Jones was trying to make through roads on the left and nearly succeeded just before the half hour mark. Edmundson’s clearing header was straight onto Defoe and he slipped in Jones down the channel. The Northern Irishman powered through before seeing his shot saved at feet.
Some neat interplay on the edge of the box between Aribo and Defoe just before the break led to Docherty firing just over from the edge of the box for the final action of the half.
Rangers replaced their entire outfield line-up at the break and while they didn’t score they had numerous chances and looked defensively sound. Ross McCrorie had a good chance with a bold effort on 58 minutes when he dropped his shoulder to cut inside and try and sneak the ball into the top corner but it went just over.
After the hour mark Andy Halliday threaded in Daniel Candeias with a lovely ball and the Portuguese saw his strike on the angle blocked by Harrison in goal again.
McGregor was largely untested in his 75 minute outing but he made a good solid save from Adrian Cieślewicz just before going off for Andy Firth.
Inside the final 10 minutes Candeias, playing in midfield, produced a superb cross field ball to pick out Andy Halliday pushing forward from left-back. The left-back then sold his defender, cut inside and broke into the box. After struggling to get a shot away he cutback to Jamie Murphy at the top of the box and the returning winger saw his shot blocked and sent for a corner.
Greg Stewart was spearheading Rangers attacking line and produced a deft touch to lay-off to Jake Hastie with time running out. The summer signing saw his snapshot saved and then Murphy drove one wide from the edge of the area to end the game.
First Half XI: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Edmundson, Barisic, Docherty, Davis, Aribo, Ojo, Defoe, Jones.
Second Half XI: McGregor (Firth 75’), Polster, Flanagan, Katic, Halliday, Kamara, McCrorie, Candeias, Hastie, Stewart, Murphy.
Goals: Defoe 14’