Rangers quality decisive
Ipswich Town 0Glasgow Rangers 2THERE was not a great deal to get overly excited about in what was still a reasonably entertaining and decent friendly at Portman Road last night, although Ipswich held their own for large periods of the game.
By Derek Davis
Ipswich Town 0
Glasgow Rangers 2
THERE was not a great deal to get overly excited about in what was still a reasonably entertaining and decent friendly at Portman Road last night, although Ipswich held their own for large periods of the game.
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The Rangers obvious quality and strength in depth did for a game Blues, who worked hard on a warm summer's evening and, although beaten, were never over-awed.
Triallist Edwin Ouon didn't make the best of impressions as he lined up alongside Jason De Vos in central defence, while Rui Marques looked more composed without ever having much to do.
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The Scottish champions are more advanced in their pre-season training, with their title defence starting a week earlier than the English Championship.
The Blues twice had chances in the opening couple of minutes, although Nicky Forster's first touch let him down after Kevin Horlock picked him out with a neat through ball.
De Vos met Jim Magilton's corner with a good downward header but Stefan Klos, in his first game in six months after recovering from a knee injury, was down sharply at the base of a post to save.
Ian Westlake and Horlock both had long-range shots comfortably saved by the keeper as they got forward well.
Rangers, though, broke sharply and skipper Barry Ferguson could have done better with a 20-yard shot after Chris Burke slipped him in.
Goalkeeper Lewis Price saved Ouon's blushes with a good save at Ferguson's feet after the Frenchman had blundered and gifted the ball to the Scot.
The young Town keeper followed that up with a diving save to push away a fierce Ross McCormack free-kick after Ouon had been booked for a foul.
Young Irish midfielder Owen Garvan went on for the injured Horlock four minutes before the break and his first contribution was a saving tackle in his own area after Town played themselves into trouble once more.
Summer signing Sam Parkin, a £450,000-plus buy from Swindon, went close on the stroke of half-time when he got his head to a Darren Currie ball. Klos deflected it away with an arm, although the German didn't know too much about it.
The Light Blues made the most of their escape and made a double substitute at half-time which paid dividends nine minutes later.
Nacho Novo floated in a cross and Danish striker Peter Lovenkrands got away from Ouon and directed his header past Price.
Ferguson had a chance to double the lead after another incisive break by Rangers but he put his 10-yard volley on the run wide.
The Blues introduced Dean McDonald for his first-team home debut and he helped spark more attacking play pushing up on the wide right.
Free signing from Reading, Nicky Forster, also showed his pace by sprinting onto a low through ball by Westlake and, although he got away from his marker, the striker dragged his shot wide across goal.
In what was a familiar scenario last season, Town pushed on looking for an equaliser and were almost caught when Novo caused problems with a surging run into the area from their right flank but fired his shot wide.
The Spaniard's obvious quality had Town reeling three minutes from time when he ran onto a perfectly-weighted Charlie Adam pass and beat Price with a powerful drive.
Westlake went close with a dipping free-kick after McDonald was fouled on the edge of the area but Town were beaten by a better team.
Before the game Blues groundsman and massive Rangers fan Alan Ferguson and his staff were presented with the Pitch of the Year award from former World Cup referee Jack Taylor.
It is the sixth time in nine seasons that Ferguson has picked up a national award for the Portman Road pitch, which was once again in remarkable condition given that it was only relaid after two pop concerts during the summer.
Ipswich Town: Price, Marques, Wilnis (Richards, 62), De Vos, Ouon, Westlake, Magilton (McDonald, 62) Forster, Parkin, Curie and Horlock (Garvan, 41). Subs not used: Naylor, Supple, Collins and Bowditch.
Glasgow Rangers: Klos, Khizanishvili, Fanfan, Ferguson (Adam, 77) Burke, Rae, McCormack (Novo, 46) Lovenkrands (Fetai, 82) Smith (Nieto, 46) Hemdani (Miladenovic, 29) and Ross (Ricksen, 71). Subs not used: Wall, McLean, McGregor and Santala.
Referee: G Lewis.