RANGERS enjoyed a successful workout as they ended their Dubai winter training camp by putting six goals past Uzbekistan Champions Lokomotiv Tashkent in a sharp outing.
Steven Gerrard played two entirely different XIs in each half at the Sevens Stadium, with the first-half ending 2-0, following goals from Jermain Defoe and Sheyi Ojo, before the Gers added another three in the second period.
The pick of the goals had to be Steven Davis’ stunning effort that cracked off the underside of the bar, after he struck from the edge of the box. Then James Tavernier, with a header and Greg Stewart, from the spot, added the extras.
Rangers began in a good rhythm, which would set the tone, getting most of the ball in the opening exchanges. Their first chance came through Defoe, who fired over when he found himself in space on the edge of the area with seven minutes gone.
And it was the striker who struck next to open the scoring for the Gers in the 10th minute. It came after a lovely exchange between Brandon Barker and Sheyi Ojo as the former Manchester City man threaded the ball through to Ojo in the right channel. The winger then cut one across the front of goal for Defoe to fire home from close range.
Nikola Katic, paired with George Edmundson for the first-half, did well in the 24th minute to head clear when Lokomotiv sent in a low corner and Kakhi Makharadze tried to nod a powerful effort goalwards. That was pretty much it for the Uzbekistani Champions chances.
Rangers pressed forward once again when Joe Aribo intercepted the ball in midfield well with 27 minutes ticking onto the clock. Brandon Barker tried to work it in from the left but lost out and it was the industry, as ever, from Ryan Jack to win the ball back that then cut open the Lokomotiv defence. The quality of his ball to Ojo was matched by the Liverpool loanee’s finish as he picked his spot to double the Gers lead.
Barker nearly made it three minutes later after a superb passage of play from the Light Blues. Jack evaded two challenges in the middle before releasing Scott Arfield to pick out an overlapping run from right-back Nathan Patterson. The Academy youngster cut back across the top of the box and Arfield dummied before Barker’s shot was saved.
With Rangers’ XI completed changed at the break they didn’t break stride to continue where the first team had left off. On 49 minutes Davis pinged one in off the underside of the crossbar from the edge of the box to give the Gers a spectacular third.
Glen Kamara linked up with Jordan Jones 15 minutes into the half to see the Northern Irishman denied at feet by Javokhir Ilyasov. Then Ryan Kent typically jinked his way through a pack of Lokomotiv players on the edge of the box to fire a low shot at the keeper, who saved well to his left.
With twenty minutes to go of the game Tavernier added himself to the scoresheet with a rare header. Kent picked the ball up wide on the left and sent a Lokomotiv defender on his backside with his trickery as he worked his way into the box and lifted a ball across the face of goal. The Rangers captain rose up in the middle and had an easy time to nod home.
Lokomotiv grabbed a late consolation goal when Avaz Ulmasaliyev controlled a punted ball forward brilliantly with the outside of his foot. Abdullaziz Yusupov received it back from him and fired beyond Andy Firth with no one to challenge him.
Before time was up Rangers added another two both coming from Stewart. The first from the spot after Jordan Jones was pulled down in the box and the forward stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way, picking the bottom left corner. Jones then went on another good run to slip the ball through to Stewart and he cooly chipped the keeper to round things off.
RANGERS first-half XI: Foderingham, Patterson, Edmundson, Katic, Barisic, Jack, Arfield, Aribo, Ojo, Barker, Defoe.
RANGERS second-half XI: Firth, Tavernier (Maxwell 71’), Goldson, Flanagan, Halliday, Docherty, Davis, Kamara, Jones, Stewart, Kent (Kennedy 71’)
Goals: Defoe 10’ Ojo 27’ Davis 49’ Tavernier 70’ Stewart 80’ 90′