RANGERS rounded-off their pre-season with an extremely convincing defeat of Championship big-guns Derby County at Ibrox this afternoon.
Dominating the game from start to finish, only a quite incredible performance from goalkeeper Kelle Roos for the Rams prevented Gers from winning by a margin their superior play deserved.
Given Gers had played three competitive games already, and Derby are now just a week out from the start of their Championship season, the match began at a decent pace, with both sides looking to get on the front foot.
Tom Lawrence fired just wide for the visitors early-on following a neat lay-off from former Ger Martyn Waghorn, while Greg Docherty tested Kelle Roos with an effort from the edge of the box at the end of a superb passing move down the right involving James Tavernier and Scott Arfield.
That latter chance saw the Light Blues grab control of the game, and after winning the ball high up the park, Docherty again forced Roos into a decent stop with his shot coming from just outside the area.
Tavernier then wonderfully picked out Jones, the winger having made a late run into the area, though Roos came out to deny him a certain goal before the goalkeeper made his fourth save of the game almost straight afterwards, Jermain Defoe drifting in from the left and finding his route to goal blocked by the Dutch stopper.
Both Defoe and Jones were then inches away from connecting to a ball flashed across the face of goal by Docherty, and Glen Kamara had an effort from 20-yards or-so go just over the bar.
Roos was having quite an afternoon, and his best save to date came on 39 minutes as he somehow got a hand to a powerful Filip Helander effort from around 15-yards, the big Swede having remained forward from a set-piece before being picked out by Kamara.
The second half began in much the same way as the first, with pretty-much one way traffic heading towards the Derby goal.
Docherty had another effort on goal, slipping just wide this time while Roos saved from Defoe yet again, and then the Englishman couldn’t sort his feet out to net a Borna Barisic cross.
Kamara tried his luck again as he won a second ball at the back post from a Tavernier free-kick, but somehow Derby managed to deflect his effort over before Roos was to rescue them again, blocking a Defoe shot at his near post.
Kamara was denied by Roos for a third time on 73 minutes, this time pushing away a curling strike the Finn hit from around 25-yards, while substitute Alfredo Morelos headed a Sheyi Ojo corner over the bar from close range.
Ojo should then have broken the deadlock on 83 minutes as he collected a neat lay-off from Morelos, but again Roos came to close the angle and send the ball behind for a corner.
From that resulting corner, however, Andy Halliday delivered a super ball into the area, and meeting it with a powerful header was Nikola Katic, the big Croatian grabbing yet another pre-season goal.
Morelos should have made it 2-0 soon after, but again the outstanding Roos was there with yet another near-post block.
So 1-0 is how it finished, with the second leg of the Europa League qualifier with Progres Niederkorn to come in Luxembourg on Thursday.
RANGERS: Foderingham; Tavernier (Flanagan, 64), Helander (Goldson, 64), Katic, Barisic (Halliday, 64); Kamara, Davis (Polster, 64) Docherty; Arfield (Aribo, 64), Jones (Ojo, 60), Defoe (Morelos, 72).
SUBS NOT USED: Firth, Edmundson.
DERBY COUNTY: Roos, Keogh, Dowell, Waghorn, Lawrence, Jozefzoon, Evans, Bennett, Bogle, Huddlestone, Malone.
SUBS: Mitchell, Shinnie, Martin, Lowe, Davies, Sibley, Bird, Anya, Buchanan, Whittaker.
REFEREE: Kevin Clancy