Rangers have brought their pre-season campaign to a close with a comfortable 2-0 win over Coventry City at Ibrox – and Gers boss Steven Gerrard will be happy at his side’s work over the last few weeks.
Gerrard’s side looked to be as close to full-strength as possible ahead of next week’s league curtain-raiser away to Aberdeen, with only one change from the midweek win over Motherwell.
The Gers started the game on the front foot and they almost had an opening within the first minute after a ball over the top came agonisingly close to finding Morelos but the visitor’s defence cleared.
Rangers kept the pressure on the newly-promoted side and Ianis Hagi was next to go close, with the Romanian’s shot charged down and the summer signing pleading for a penalty for handball.
Mark Robins’ side slowly started to find a bit of a foothold in the game but it was clear that Rangers were well ahead in terms of their pre-season preparations.
After the bright start from Rangers, it was a bit disappointing to see them take their foot off the gas a little and allow the Sky Blues to tighten up and start to frustrate their hosts.
With the break looming, the game suddenly sparked back into life thanks to Joe Aribo after he stole the ball in midfield and fed Morelos before the Colombian’s shot was blocked.
Coventry couldn’t clear though and eventually conceded a corner when Jack’s shot was deflected wide as Rangers looked much more like the side that started the game.
HALF-TIME: Rangers 0-0 Coventry City
All level at the interval. pic.twitter.com/OfA5EE7Ctu
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) July 25, 2020
The visitors changed their most of their side at the break as Mark Robins tried to get the most out of the game for his squad while the Gers were unchanged.
It didn’t take long after the restart though for Rangers to take the lead through Aribo as the Nigerian’s excellent footwork again paid dividends.
The midfielder picked the ball up and played a lovely one-two with Morelos before showing great composure inside the box to calmly find slot the ball into the bottom corner.
There was a positive sign for Rangers just after an hour when Filip Helander made his first appearance in the first-team since the League Cup final defeat by Celtic as Steven Gerrard made a handful of changes.
Alongside Helander, Scott Arfield and Brandon Barker also came off the bench with Edmundson, Ryan Jack and Morelos all making way.
Brilliant by Joe Aribo! 🙌
A nice one-two with Morelos followed up by a cool and composed finish to put Rangers in front 🔵 pic.twitter.com/3W29L5iYDq
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) July 25, 2020
It really should have been 2-0 after 63 minutes when Barisic’s teasing cross evaded the Coventry defenders but Tavernier somehow managed to head wide from close range.
Rangers again looked to have the bit between their teeth and Gerrard’s side were starting to carve out a number of chances and the second goal game sixteen minutes after the first.
Tavernier’s pin-point delivery found Goldson unmarked in the area and the big defender headed home brilliantly to give the Light Blues a deserved 2-0 lead.
67' GOAL! A terrific header from Connor Goldson makes it 2-0 pic.twitter.com/AMCWCToOYL
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) July 25, 2020
At this point, Coventry went into damage limitation and parked eleven men behind the ball as they Championship new boys tried to avoid heading back down the road on the end of a heavy defeat.
There was a really strong shout for a penalty ten minutes from the end when Nathan Patterson was brought down on the edge of the area but somehow Willie Collum let it go.
Gerrard turned to his bench again with the clock ticking down as Greg Stewart, Jamie Murphy, Jamie Barjonas, Calvin Bassey and Ross McCrorie came on in place of Joe Aribo, Ianis Hagi, Ryan Kent, Borna Barisic and Glen Kamara.
Greg Stewart almost grabbed a late third after an excellent counter but his strike was deflected wide at the expense of a corner.
That would be it for action and attention will now turn to Saturday’s clash with Aberdeen at Pittodrie as the Scottish Premiership gets underway.
Here’s how Gerrard’s side performed in their final pre-season outing:
Allan McGregor – 6
Barely involved in the opening 45 after returning to the side following the Motherwell game. Involved even less after the break as the veteran had a quiet afternoon.
James Tavernier – 7
Tried to get forward as much as possible, causing a lot of early problems, before the tempo disappeared from the game midway through the first half. Caught out defensively once or twice as he stayed too far forward. Cross set up Goldson for the second. Replaced by Nathan Patterson with 20 minutes left.
Connor Goldson – 7
Cleared his lines well and never looked troubled defensively. Some really good passing created chances for Rangers to get in behind the Coventry defence but the Gers couldn’t capitalise. Kept trying to get his team-mates to up the tempo to little success. Scored the second with an excellent header.
George Edmundson – 6
Decent performance again from the defender as he continues to stake his claim for a regular place in the starting XI. Never really tested. Replaced by the returning Filip Helander for the final 30 minutes
Borna Barisic – 6
The left-back poses a real threat with his crossing but didn’t get into positions enough to really cause problems before being replaced by Calvin Bassey.
Ryan Jack – 6
Worked away in the centre of midfield without ever really imposing himself on the game. Needs to take control of the game more. Replaced by Scott Arfield after an hour.
Glen Kamara – 7
Really tidy performance without making any real impact on the game either. Barely wasted a ball but only really started to have an influence in the final 30 minutes. Replaced by Ross McCrorie.
Joe Aribo – 8
The Nigerian international has really caught the eye so far this summer. His quick feet helped him slalom past defenders as the Gers looked for an opener. Finally got the goal as he continued his excellent form. Replaced by Greg Stewart.
Ryan Kent – 6
Lots of activity but little end result for big chunks as the front three looked frustrated for long spells. Games like this are the sort of ones Rangers need the likes of Kent to produce a little bit of magic but it’s clear to see how important he’s going to be. Replaced by Jamie Barjonas.
Ianis Hagi – 7
Like Kent there was lots of movement but little that came from it for long spells. Such an intelligent player and his class shone through. Looks to be building an excellent relationship with the other attack-minded players. Replaced by Jamie Murphy.
Alfredo Morelos – 6
The Colombian cut a frustrated figure at times but never stopped working to make space for himself or team-mates. Could’ve had a goal or two before being replaced after an hour by Brandon Barker.