Blog

3 things Rangers learned in broken Sunderland test game after frustrating first half before Portuguese blackout

It was a frustrating night for the Ibrox side as their clash against the Algarve Black Cats was abandoned at half-time due to a floodlight failure. (Author: Gardener)

SunderlandIt can always be dangerous to get too caught up in pre-season games. What if it's only half a game? But that's all Rangers fans have to do after their first friendly of the summer ended in absurd circumstances, being abandoned at half-time due to a floodlight failure at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira. New players are often written off for poor pre-season performance when snap judgments are made about that big-money signing - only to thrive when the real action begins. The Rangers players will have plenty of other opportunities to impress the boss but apart from training sessions at their warm-weather Algarve training camp, Giovanni van Bronckhorst has just 45 minutes left against Sunderland and that will be up to their trip to the sea to face Blackpool on July 16, followed by friendlies against West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur. And it wasn't a great half of football from the Europa League finalists and Scottish Cup winners as they blew up the cobwebs as the Light Blues trailed 1-0 behind the Black Cats as the game ended through Luke O 'No's hit was interrupted. When Premier Sports' coverage dropped - which only contributed to a miserable night for armchair fans - Gers supporters watching at home didn't miss much. But here Record Sport looks at some of the things we learned from the 45 minutes. Many fans felt Jon McLaughlin was due for a run on the team when Allan McGregor was out of shape. Then, just as it looked like McGregor was heading for the exit, McLaughlin was touted for first place while Robby McCrorie rose. However, that all changed when McGregor signed a new contract. Some believe McLaughlin should still be the first choice and he started against his old club but didn't look too smart when he came on for Alex Pritchard's corner but failed to collect everything leading to the game's only goal. The former Aberdeen man ended the season on a high with his goal in the Scottish Cup final and picked up where he left off, looking menacing every time he picked up the ball. He's been on the fringes during his time at Ibrox but if he finds his top form he could be a big player this season. This was Niko Katic's first appearance in a Rangers first-team shirt in over two years following injury and a loan spell in Croatia. This is crucial for him in terms of his Ibrox career and that decision will not be based on 45 minutes against Alex Neils Mackems. But the defender didn't show much in the first half to convince fans who are divided on whether he has a long-term future.

Read

Flight to Glasgow: Rangers "want" to complete signing, fans will be cheering

Rangers are reportedly set to sign Rabbi Matondo from Schalke next week. (Author: Gardener)

GlasgowThere is an important update on Rangers and their pursuit of Rabbi Matondo in the summer transfer window... Sport1 reporter Patrick Berger has revealed that the Gers are set to strike a deal to sign the forward shortly. He tweeted: "Glasgow Rangers want to sign Rabbi Matondo. Firstly, they'll be delighted at how quickly Ross Wilson is working in the transfer market, having recently signed a deal to sign Antonio Colak. After a slow start to the summer, Rangers are now close to a second signing in quick succession and fans will be happy with the progress in the window. Second, they will be excited about Matondo as he has the potential to be an excellent player for Gio van Bronckhorst. Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola previously praised the youngster, saying: "They (Schalke) are interested in another young player. I know how good he is, an incredibly fast winger and a young talent. This club works so well.” These comments from the Spaniard suggest he will be an exciting player for fans as he has the speed to leap past his mark and get things going in the last third. As you can see in the chart above, the Welshman showed promise in Belgium last season. Across all competitions, the forward registered ten goals and two assists on loan from Schalke at Cercle Brugge and these stats give a sense of what he can offer Rangers. At 21, he is still in the early stages of his career and is a player who can make a difference in the immediate future while also having the potential to improve and grow in importance and value over the long term. Fans will therefore be buzzing when he walks through the door, hoping there are no last-minute snags.

Read

Sunderland's friendly was a farce and the new Rangers transfer boys are nomadic nobodies who will not improve

Michael Gannon takes your calls as fans react to a 'farce' situation in the Algarve. (Author: Gardener)

SunderlandRangers and Sunderland players left in the dark Rangers fans were left in the dark in the Algarve at the weekend, but a few new arrivals always shed some light. The friendly duel with Sunderland ended in a shambles when the floodlights hit it at half-time, but fans are hoping new recruits Antonio Colak and Tom Lawrence can bring some relief following Joe Aribo's departure. Alan McGaw, Alloa, said: “What an absolute farce by Portugal when the floodlights didn't work and the game was abandoned. I know it was just a friendly but what would have happened if it had been a European game? What about the fans who also paid for admission? As for the signings? Robert Livingstone, West Palm Beach, is confident and said: “Colak and Lawrence are natural scorers and their additions certainly make Rangers more competitive. Once Morelos comes back and stays, Van Bronckhorst has an opportunity to play all three up front. But Barriemore Barlow, of Dunbartonshire, said: “Rangers are nowhere near ready for a new season. Bassey and Barisic appear to be staying, Aribo is gone and they have signed two attackers, both 28 years old and having played for a total of 19 clubs - mostly on loan. Hardly anything that stands the test of time.” Kevin Kean, Inchinan, said: “I don't know anything about Tom Lawrence and I suspect neither do Rangers fans. Not in Wales' recent World Cup squad, he has scored 36 goals in 180 games with Derby. When does Colak play? Celtic fans also like to get involved in Rangers' transfer business. Henry Moffat, Stirling, said: "I had to laugh at the caller who said Rangers paid £300,000 for Joe Aribo, more like just under £3m in player and agent contract fees and little profit of £6m after his lavish wages. The deal with Tom Lawrence is exactly the same, and after reading many reports of his regular slumps in form and bad attitude, it's clear it's just a downgrade from Aribo with no resale value. Richard Wharton, Carlisle said: “So Lawrence signs on to Ibrox. Paul Keenan said via email: "I'm surprised Rangers didn't come around to sign Jack Wilshere before he hung up his boots. Must be a new strategy under John Park." Meanwhile crystal ball time as Gordon Ashley, Ayr said: "I said on the hotline last season that Scott Brown would play a big part in denying Rangers the title and I was right , since Broony was the most influential player when Aberdeen won four points fewer. Celtic made some early deals but some fans are concerned more is needed. David Bryce, Troon, said: “I hope when Ange says he wants a player or two, he really means about six. We urgently need a defensive midfielder and a good middle half. Ange says we never stop, but we really have to improve."

Read

Alex Lowry posed the Rangers challenge as an emerging star bucks trend of top talent leaving Scotland

The Ibrox starlet has received rave reviews over the past season and after renewing his contract, Kenny Dalglish believes he is aiming for a top team spot. (Author: Gardener)

Alex LowryKenny Dalglish reckons Alex Lowry will need to improve on last season to break into Giovanni van Bronckhorst's Rangers first-team on a regular basis. Former Ibrox midfielder Kevin Thomson touted him as a replacement for Joe Aribo after the Nigeria international made a big-money move to English Premier League side Southampton. Lowry himself is said to be traveling to England with clubs like Newcastle United linked with the Lanarkshire star. However, he ended all speculation last season when he signed a new contract with Rangers, looking to keep him at the club until at least 2025. Lowry's former Rangers team-mate Rory Wilson joined Aston Villa aged just 16, while Calvin Ramsay left Aberdeen for English giants Liverpool and Lewis Ferguson and Josh Doig were close to moving to Italy, where Aaron Hickey had a spell before he joined Brentford after leaving Hearts for Bologna. In his Sunday Post column, Dalglish wrote: "Alex Lowry has decided to extend his contract with Rangers and right now he's in Portugal to show Giovanni van Bronckhorst he's ready for promotion and a regular in the first team to play football. He showed a few times last season that he's talented and has a good mentality. Speaking on the exodus of top talent, Liverpool legend Dalglish said: "Looking at the quality of young players coming through in Scotland right now, I think our game is in a good place. In recent years we've seen Kieran Tierney and Billy Gilmour progress through the ranks of the Old Firm to join big clubs in the English Premier League. “Aaron Hickey also made his mark with Hearts as a 16-year-old and joined Bologna two years later. And now he's the latest Scot to join the Premier League for £17million after joining Brentford. Calvin Ramsay joined Anfield from Aberdeen last month, with the Dons receiving a record fee.” “Aston Villa recently signed 16-year-old striker Rory Wilson from Rangers, as well as Kerr Smith, just a year older, from Dundee United and Hibernian signed , Josh Doig has attracted interest from several European clubs and could well move to Hellas Verona in Serie A this week.” Andy Robertson took a route from Queen's Park to Dundee United and on to Hull City before landing his transfer to Liverpool .” Nathan Patterson will hope to put his injuries behind him and follow suit at Everton, having left Rangers for a sizeable fee in the previous window. Of course, financial terms are important to the selling club, which will have promoted a talent through the ranks. But they young players should also consider the type of football club they are moving to. So the move of Calvin Ramsay - who is currently struggling with injury - to Liverpool is great for him. Jurgen Klopp has shown that if you have the talent, there is a path to the first team. “Calvin may or may not play for the first team in the Carabao Cup this season.

Read

Alex Lowry posed the Rangers challenge as an emerging star bucks trend of top talent leaving Scotland

The Ibrox starlet has received rave reviews over the past season and after renewing his contract, Kenny Dalglish believes he is aiming for a top team spot. (Author: Gardener)

Alex LowryKenny Dalglish reckons Alex Lowry will need to improve on last season to break into Giovanni van Bronckhorst's Rangers first-team on a regular basis. Former Ibrox midfielder Kevin Thomson touted him as a replacement for Joe Aribo after the Nigeria international made a big-money move to English Premier League side Southampton. Lowry himself is said to be traveling to England with clubs like Newcastle United linked with the Lanarkshire star. However, he ended all speculation last season when he signed a new contract with Rangers, looking to keep him at the club until at least 2025. Lowry's former Rangers team-mate Rory Wilson joined Aston Villa aged just 16, while Calvin Ramsay left Aberdeen for English giants Liverpool and Lewis Ferguson and Josh Doig were close to moving to Italy, where Aaron Hickey had a spell before he joined Brentford after leaving Hearts for Bologna. In his Sunday Post column, Dalglish wrote: "Alex Lowry has decided to extend his contract with Rangers and right now he's in Portugal to show Giovanni van Bronckhorst he's ready for promotion and a regular in the first team to play football. He showed a few times last season that he's talented and has a good mentality. Speaking on the exodus of top talent, Liverpool legend Dalglish said: "Looking at the quality of young players coming through in Scotland right now, I think our game is in a good place. In recent years we've seen Kieran Tierney and Billy Gilmour progress through the ranks of the Old Firm to join big clubs in the English Premier League. “Aaron Hickey also made his mark with Hearts as a 16-year-old and joined Bologna two years later. And now he's the latest Scot to join the Premier League for £17million after joining Brentford. Calvin Ramsay joined Anfield from Aberdeen last month, with the Dons receiving a record fee.” “Aston Villa recently signed 16-year-old striker Rory Wilson from Rangers, as well as Kerr Smith, just a year older, from Dundee United and Hibernian signed , Josh Doig has attracted interest from several European clubs and could well move to Hellas Verona in Serie A this week.” Andy Robertson took a route from Queen's Park to Dundee United and on to Hull City before landing his transfer to Liverpool .” Nathan Patterson will hope to put his injuries behind him and follow suit at Everton, having left Rangers for a sizeable fee in the previous window. Of course, financial terms are important to the selling club, which will have promoted a talent through the ranks. But they young players should also consider the type of football club they are moving to. So the move of Calvin Ramsay - who is currently struggling with injury - to Liverpool is great for him. Jurgen Klopp has shown that if you have the talent, there is a path to the first team. “Calvin may or may not play for the first team in the Carabao Cup this season.

Read

3 things Rangers learned in broken Sunderland test game after frustrating first half before Portuguese blackout

It was a frustrating night for the Ibrox side as their clash against the Algarve Black Cats was abandoned at half-time due to a floodlight failure. (Author: Gardener)

SunderlandIt can always be dangerous to get too caught up in pre-season games. What if it's only half a game? But that's all Rangers fans have to do after their first friendly of the summer ended in absurd circumstances, being abandoned at half-time due to a floodlight failure at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira. New players are often written off for poor pre-season performance when snap judgments are made about that big-money signing - only to thrive when the real action begins. The Rangers players will have plenty of other opportunities to impress the boss but apart from training sessions at their warm-weather Algarve training camp, Giovanni van Bronckhorst has just 45 minutes left against Sunderland and that will be up to their trip to the sea to face Blackpool on July 16, followed by friendlies against West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur. And it wasn't a great half of football from the Europa League finalists and Scottish Cup winners as they blew up the cobwebs as the Light Blues trailed 1-0 behind the Black Cats as the game ended through Luke O 'No's hit was interrupted. When Premier Sports' coverage dropped - which only contributed to a miserable night for armchair fans - Gers supporters watching at home didn't miss much. But here Record Sport looks at some of the things we learned from the 45 minutes. Many fans felt Jon McLaughlin was due for a run on the team when Allan McGregor was out of shape. Then, just as it looked like McGregor was heading for the exit, McLaughlin was touted for first place while Robby McCrorie rose. However, that all changed when McGregor signed a new contract. Some believe McLaughlin should still be the first choice and he started against his old club but didn't look too smart when he came on for Alex Pritchard's corner but failed to collect everything leading to the game's only goal. The former Aberdeen man ended the season on a high with his goal in the Scottish Cup final and picked up where he left off, looking menacing every time he picked up the ball. He's been on the fringes during his time at Ibrox but if he finds his top form he could be a big player this season. This was Niko Katic's first appearance in a Rangers first-team shirt in over two years following injury and a loan spell in Croatia. This is crucial for him in terms of his Ibrox career and that decision will not be based on 45 minutes against Alex Neils Mackems. But the defender didn't show much in the first half to convince fans who are divided on whether he has a long-term future.

Read

Rangers' friendly against Sunderland was canceled at half-time, with the Black Cats leading 1-0

Rangers were 1-0 down at Sunderland at half-time in a friendly in Portugal when the stadium was plunged into darkness due to a floodlight failure (Author: Gardener)

SunderlandSign up for our football newsletter for the latest from the pitch. Sign up for our football newsletter for the latest from the pitch. Rangers' pre-season friendly against Sunderland was abandoned at half-time on Saturday night after a floodlight failure in Portugal. The two sides were in the midst of their first friendly of the summer in southern Portugal when a technical problem arose at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira. Confused players came back to play the second 45 minutes only to find the ground plunged in darkness. Officials stood around for 40 minutes while technicians tried to solve the problem, but although lights were restored the game was eventually abandoned, leaving everyone involved extremely irritated. Sunderland led 1-0 over Rangers at the break after Luke O'Nien's strike in the 28th minute. READ MORE: Rangers legend Kenny Miller collides with Celtic keeper in fiery Masters patch-off Rangers said in a statement: "Neither Rangers nor Sunderland were responsible for the stadium running and the floodlights failing. “However, Rangers appreciate the support of our loyal fans and the support they give to the team wherever we go, which means everything to us. Rangers will refund the ticket cost to all Rangers ticket holders and our supporters who bought the game on RangersTV.” It ended a shambolic night of pre-season football that had many Rangers and Sunderland fans already upset after the live stream of the game was temporarily suspended by Premier Sports. Have you ever seen such a farce? "This friendly will go down as the strangest friendly in football history," wrote a Rangers fan. Another quipped: "If only we played at the Stadium of Light." "That's pretty bad considering what fans would have paid for a friendly to Portugal," added another. "It's disappointing," said Sunderland manager Alex Neil. "Of course we really wanted to push the game forward and we played because it's important minutes that we lost for the preparation that we did here (in Portugal). Sunderland will resume their pre-season campaign on Wednesday, taking on Jose Mourinho's Roma, while Rangers play a game against West Ham at Ibrox on July 18 before another game against Tottenham on July 23.

Read

John Souttar tipped Paul Ritchie's Rangers success after making the same transfer from Hearts

Paul Ritchie left Hearts like John Souttar in the summer to join Rangers on a Bosman after the Edinburgh club turned down previous offers for the players. (Author: Gardener)

John SouttarPaul Ritchie left Hearts like John Souttar in the summer to join Rangers on a Bosman after the Edinburgh club turned down previous offers for the players. Ritchie was 24 when he traveled to the other end of the M8, Souttar was 25 and they each had six caps for Scotland when they left Tynecastle. Souttar signed a four-year deal last month and Ritchie also in June 2000 1998 Scottish Cup final - was sacked by then-manager Dick Advocaat after just 75 days at Ibrox and sold to Manchester City for £500,000 each before Abu Dhabi's oil money left the Lancashire fortune -Clubs who had just returned to England's top division but would be relegated again this season. "John won't have similar issues: everything else aside, he's a better player than me!" he said. "The only disappointing aspect for me is that Hearts didn't get him a fee after standing by him through his serious injuries. “He will fit into the Rangers team in the way I envisioned when I went there. John is ahead of me in terms of Scotland caps and the level of play he produces. "The way he's playing, he could be a midfielder. "I have no doubt that John will be a great signing for Rangers and he will be a success there. It says a lot about him that his last game for Hearts was in the Scottish Cup final against his new club and he was Robbie Neilson's best player. I played with both of them at Hearts and they were ahead of their time because they also liked to get the ball out from behind. For Ritchie, the possibility of what could have been if only Advocaat had given him a chance remains a source of frustration. “The problem, in my opinion, was that I was the signature of a chairman rather than the signature of a manager. Rangers were criticized in some circles for not buying Scottish players and I think David Murray was more responsible for me coming than Dick Advocaat. My old Hearts team-mate Allan Johnston had been signed earlier in the year, didn't get too many games and was sold to Middlesbrough a year later. “Kenny Miller came from Hibs at the same time as me and was also sold to Wolves in 2001. Looking back, I was always way down the pecking order with the quality that Rangers had back then, but I was okay with that because I always knew I had to fight to earn my chance. “During our pre-season tour of Holland, I quickly got the impression that Advocaat just didn't like me. “The turning point for me was when Advocaat brought 19 players to Denmark for a Champions League qualifier in early August. I was left behind, Scott Wilson took my place and was actively told I had no future at the club. "When I went to Dick he told me I could stay if I wanted to, but I could go too. I found it strange after such a short time, but two days later I got a call [to say] that the gaffer had accepted an offer for me.”

Read

Gio van Bronckhorst reveals Rangers risk factor behind Sunderland friendly stop as club offer wholesale refunds

Van Bronckhorst insisted it would have been too risky for his players to return to action (Author: Gardener)

Gio van BronckhorstDisappointed Gio van Bronckhorst says he would not play on his players' fitness to play the second half against Sunderland. Rangers are in Portugal for a pre-season training camp and started yesterday against the English league side. Aside from a brief blackout for fans streaming at home, the first half went smoothly in the Algarve, with Luke O'Nien's strike separating the two teams at the break. However, after returning from half-time, things began to go wrong when a floodlight failure at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira delayed kick-off. 15 minutes passed, then half an hour, and it was almost 10pm local time when the two clubs decided to call it quits. Van Bronckhorst admits he's disappointed they couldn't get the game going again. But he concedes it would have been far too risky to force his players back into running after a break of over an hour. He told Rangers Review: "They want to play a game. You want to give all your players minutes to be stronger. Once the lights go out, you wait and you keep waiting, you get the message that you don't have much hope that the lights are working properly. Too much risk for players who only come in their first week, so an hour off and playing on wasn't ideal. "There were other aspects, we had to go and get the bus, we don't have much hope of it working. You want to make your players strong, but you also want to keep them fresh and not injured. Meanwhile, Rangers have Refunds were offered to fans who bought tickets as well as those who bought streams through the club, saying in a statement: "Tonight's game in Portugal was abandoned at half-time due to a problem with the stadium's floodlights. "Neither Rangers nor Sunderland were responsible for the stadium operations and the floodlights failure. However, Rangers appreciate the support of our loyal fans and the support they give to the team, wherever we go, which means everything to us. "Rangers will reimburse the cost of tickets to all Rangers ticket holders and our supporters who bought the game on RangersTV Van Bronckhorst is working hard with sporting director Ross Wilson to add signings to his squad - Rabbi Matondo is expected to be the next signing "Obviously we want to add more players to our squad and he is busy talking to players, agents and clubs. I hope we can add more players in the coming week. We are busy. We have several players that we watch and have a say in.

Read

The mantra of Graeme Souness Rangers, Gio van Bronckhorst MUST be heeded to win back the title from Celtic

Kevin Drinkell recalls what Souness Gers said to inspire them for the title and insists they never looked back. (Author: Gardener)

Graeme Souness RangersKevin Drinkell is hoping Rangers players are still injured like hell from losing the league after a season as titular heroes. Because he knows that was the feeling that fired the Ibrox club back to the top when he signed for them. Drinks, a £600,000 buy from Norwich, came pre-season in 1988 to find a team pissed at themselves. The bulk of Graeme Souness' squad secured the club their first league title in nine years in 1986/87. But Celtic immediately snapped back the award under Billy McNeill to celebrate their centenary in style. Giovanni van Bronckhorst rallied his men for preseason training with longtime stars Connor Goldson, Allan McGregor, Steven Davis and Scott Arfield still in position. Drinkell hopes they will articulate a message similar to that of Souness and his older stars 34 years ago - that 'one and done' isn't a good look for Rangers and second or third best won't be tolerated again. Drinkell's dozen league goals in his debut Ibrox season helped Souness secure that 1988/89 trophy - 12 months after they finished THIRD behind Hearts and Celtic. He said: “There shouldn't have been much between teams in the 1987/88 season. But Rangers really missed Terry Butcher with a broken leg. “Me and Gary Stevens were the new players and a big part was getting Terry fit again. “They had enjoyed a taste of it the year before, winning a league for the club for the first time in ages. "The feeling I got from guys like Ian Ferguson, Ian Durrant and Ally McCoist was that Rangers weren't going to fall behind anyone anymore. And when Terry came back he and Richard Gough were others who asked you that question – are you ready for that?” Gathering all his players in the center circle of a pitch at their Italian training camp in the Tuscan mountains, Gaffer Souness made the scale of the difficult task clear. Gers got off to a flying start, beating Celtic 5-1 in the third game of the season and never looking back. Drinkell said: "The Souness mantra was - if you can't do it for me, I'll just get someone who can. "We needed that mindset - we're the best team, we have the best equipment, the best pitch - and just improving every little bit. This year we proved that we are the better team. “What Rangers need is a galvanize. Everyone talks like us. Right, let's get out there and let's do it. “Rangers will have a lot of determination after having the euphoria to win last year. Although they did well last season, especially in Europe, losing the league also had a downside. "It's not a nice feeling when you have something after such a long time and then it's taken away from you straight away. Nobody wants to be second best in Glasgow, it affects your whole life. When you're shopping with the kids or eating out with your wife, you want to feel like you're the best at everything.” Rangers got stronger in late 2021/22, rushing to Seville for the Europa League final and beating Celtic in the semi-finals on the way to Scottish Cup victory. But the damage had been done mid-season when new boss van Bronckhorst stepped into the job following Gerrard's departure to Aston Villa. Drinkell will be hoping the Dutchman continues to make his mark on the squad following his masterclass management in Europe. Drinkell said: "There was the change of manager, there were a couple of slips, the lost points in Ross County to Motherwell, Dundee United. “They couldn't quite get back in and get their noses on Celtic at the end of the day. Now Gio just has to make it feel like his team. That only comes with a bit of time.” Ex-Coventry and Falkirk striker Drinkell believes clarifying the future of Alfredo Morelos, who will be out of contract in a year's time, is a pre-season priority. Drinkell added: “It's up to the player if they want to stay and work hard Rangers don't have to concede. “But that has to come from him – a conversation that might even be happening now. If not, we might as well do business now. It won't help the squad to have that uncertainty."

Read