DESPITE dominating much of the match, Rangers were held by Blackburn Rovers in this afternoon’s Ibrox friendly match.
Jermain Defoe had Gers ahead in the first half, but Lewis Travis netted an equaliser in the second half to ensure a share of the spoils.
With the transfer business they have done so far this summer, Blackburn look set for an exciting season in the English Championship, and it was they who began on top at Ibrox today.
Bradley Dack’s long-range effort caused Gers a problem in defence after it came off the head of Nikola Katic, his countryman Borna Barisic being the man to eventually clear after a bit of a scramble.
At the other end, neat interplay between Ryan Jack and Sheyi Ojo allowed Ojo the chance to shoot from the edge of the area, and he fired just wide for the home side’s opening chance of the match.
Charlie Mulgrew, who spent the afternoon being booed every time he touched the ball given his Celtic connections, made a fine front-post block to deny a wicked James Tavernier cross being tapped home by Jermain Defoe.
Meanwhile, Scott Arfield, who was receiving similar treatment from the Blackburn supporters having played for rivals Burnley, sent a looping header from around 15-yards out just wide, again with Tavernier being the provide.
Goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler made a wonderful save to deny Defoe from close range following good setup play from Ojo before Ojo himself had an effort from the 18-yard line tipped over by Leutwiler.
The goal at this point appeared to be coming, and on the half-hour mark, it duly arrived. Jordn Jones delivered a beauty of a cross from the left wing into the six-yard box, and there, as he generally is, was Jermain Defoe to poke the ball beyond Leutwiler to hand his side a deserved lead.
Gers were all over Rovers, Leutwiler again having to make a decent stop, this time from a stinging Jones effort from 25-yards, before Ryan Jack volleyed just wide from inside the ‘D’.
Into the second half, and Ojo clipped an effort wide of the far right post after being released by Scott Arfield, while at the other end, George Edmundson did extremely well to turn an Adam Armstrong cross round the back post before it could be tapped home by the incoming Danny Graham.
Leutwiler turned an Arfield effort round the post before the goalkeeper did well to hold a Tavernier free-kick from 25-yards before Blackburn equalised against the run of play.
Rangers were loose in possession around their own box, and Rovers charged in to capitalise and set up an almighty scramble in the Gers’ box. They couldn’t get the ball clear before eventually the ball dropped for Lewis Travis to fire beyond Allan McGregor from around 12-yards out.
It was the first goal Gers have conceded in any match so far this season, and they were almost back in front pretty quickly afterwards, a sweeping move ending with Joe Aribo playing in Alfredo Morelos, the Colombian being denied by an excellent late Bradley Johnston tackle.
Morelos thought he’d won the game in the 90th minute, tapping in a wonderful Tavernier cross, but he was denied by the offside flag of the assistant referee.
So 1-1 is how it finished, with Gers now moving on to face Progres Niederkorn in the Europa League on Thursday.
RANGERS: McGregor; Tavernier, Edmundson (Helander, 61), Katic, Barisic; Jack (Docherty, 85), Davis (Kamara, 61), Arfield (Aribo, 61); Ojo, Jones (Murphy, 76), Defoe (Morelos, 61).
SUBS NOT USED: Firth, Halliday, Stewart, Polster.
BLACKBURN ROVERS: Luetwiler, Johnson, Armstrong, Graham, Mulgrew, Bell, Downing, Dack, Lenihan, Evans, Bennett.
SUBS: Smallwood, Nyambe, Rothwell, Brereton, Travis, Butterworth, Grayson, Buckley, Hart, Magliore, Fisher.
REFEREE: Don Robertson