RANGERS turned in an outstanding performance at Hillsborough this afternoon to deservedly defeat Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.
Goals from Josh Windass and Kenny Miller either side of half-time saw Pedro Caixinha’s side warm-up for next weekend’s league opener at Motherwell in fine fashion.
In front of a quite outstanding atmosphere created by both sets of supporters, it was the visitors who began the brighter.
Twice inside the opening ten minutes, the flag of assistant Gareth Mellor came to the aid of Wednesday as firstly Kenny Miller was found to be offside, albeit heading a Lee Wallace cross wide, and then a Josh Windass’ shot was rebounded to Eduardo Herrera, with the Mexican poking the ball into an empty net. Again though, the offside flag denied Gers, with Windass the offender.
Then, Windass almost turned provider, linking well with Lee Wallace on the left, although nobody was there to turn his dangerous-looking cross into the net.
At the other end, a couple of efforts from distance from Scotland international Barry Bannan were all the Championship outfit could really muster.
Then, three minutes before half-time, Rangers took a deserved lead through the excellent Windass.
Putting immense pressure on Wednesday, centre-half Fabio Cardoso turned over the ball midway into the home half before feeding Ryan Jack who had run beyond him to the edge of the area.
Jack then threaded a quite terrific pass through the defence for Windass, who was just inside the box, and he slid a shot under the onrushing goalkeeper Kieran Westwood.
It was a fitting end to an excellent half of football from Rangers as they totally outclassed a side which only narrowly missed out on promotion to the English Premier League last season.
Wednesday appeared to have received a rocket from their manager Carlos Carvahal at half-time as they began the second half with significantly more purpose, and only some outstanding Rangers defending twice denied the always dangerous Jordan Rhodes in the opening minutes.
Firstly, Adam Reach’s cross looked to be heading straight to Rhodes before Fabio Cardoso, at full stretch, somehow got a toe on the ball to get it away.
Then, as the ball was played back into the area, the ball rebounded into his path not more than three-yards out from goal, but somehow Wes Foderingham denied the Scotland striker with an incredible save.
Just as it seemed Wednesday would get themselves level, another Scotland striker put them to the sword at the other end. Yes – Kenny Miller scored, not that should come as a surprise to anyone!
Josh Windass initially did well to win a free-kick in the middle of the park which Graham Dorrans took quickly, finding the advanced Lee Wallace out on the left wing.
His ball into the area looked for Eduardo Herrera, with both Wednesday centre-halves going to close the Mexican down. The ball, however, rebounded for the unmarked Kenny Miller, and he fired the ball high into the net.
Straight from kick-off, it was very nearly 3-0. Again, Gers out some excellent pressure on the ball to turn it over, with Dorrans again finding Wallace out on the left. This time, the skipper burst into the penalty area, with only the outrushing Westwood denying him with an excellent save.
Westwood however injured himself in the process as his head appeared to collide with the knee of Wallace, necessitating a lengthy stoppage in play until he was replaced.
That stoppage seemed to lessen the high pace of the game down somewhat, although Wes Foderingham was again called upon to make an excellent save, this time denying George Boyd from close-range after he had beaten the offside trap.
Rangers thoroughly deserved their win here this afternoon, and now go forth to Fir Park next Sunday in high spirits.
RANGERS: Foderingham; Hodson, Cardoso, Alves, Wallace; Windass (Kranjcar, 74), Jack, Dorrans (Holt,, 90+4), Candeias (Waghorn, 89); Miller (Wilson, 86), Herrera (Morelos, 80).
SUBS NOT USED: Alnwick, Dalcio, Bates, Pena.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Westwood (Wildsmith, 61), Jones, Reach, Hooper (Loovens, 45), Lees, Rhodes (Fletcher, 65), Boyd (Nuhiu 76), Hunt, Wallace (Forestieri, 45), Pudil, Bannan.
SUBS NOT USED: Dawson, Lee, Abdi, Winnall, Baker, Joao, Matias, Thorniley, Fox.