KRIS Boyd took just eight minutes to score on his return for Rangers and earn the Ibrox club a draw in their second pre-season friendly of the summer.
Ally McCoist's side were trailing Brora Rangers by a goal with just over 20 minutes left at Dudgeon Park when Boyd was brought on for Dean Shiels. The striker wasted little time in finding the net.
True to form, Boyd - who returned to Rangers last month - levelled the match in the 77th minute following an inch-perfect pass from Ian Black. The 30-year-old striker, whose every move was cheered by the large travelling support, gave Joe Malin in the Brora goal no chance with a low left-foot shot.
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"That's Boydy isn't it?" said Kenny McDowall, the Rangers assistant manager, with a shake of his head after the game. "That is what everyone knows he can do and it is why we brought him back to the place. He is off with a bang.
"That is him started now and we hope for many more. Kenny Miller has made a great difference to our play as well. But that is Boydy for you. He plays on the shoulder and he will get his shots away. It was a great goal that he scored."
McCoist admitted before kick-off that he expected a more demanding test than his side had been given by Buckie Thistle on Thursday night. The Sutherland club are backed by local businessman Ben Mackay and won the Highland League title for the first time in their history last season. There were several familiar faces in the home team's starting line-up; Ross Tokely, Grant Munro and Zander Sutherland all having played for Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the past.
McCoist's concerns proved to be well founded in an opening 45 minutes which the hosts dominated. Their guests only had a single shot at goal in the first half, a tame Calum Gallagher effort. Brora took the lead instead after 14 minutes - Sutherland playing a short corner to Andrew Greig, who then whipped a cross into the Rangers penalty area. The visiting defence failed to clear the danger and James McKay showed great composure to nip in and curl a shot beyond Cammy Bell.
McCoist made extensive changes at half-time - as he had in Moray three days earlier - and brought on no fewer than seven players. Richard Foster, Lee Wallace, Nicky Law, Black and Kenny Miller were all introduced to the fray. The Rangers fans were focused on trialist Marius Zaliukas too, with the Lithuanian forming the central defensive partnership with signing Darren McGregor in the second half. Zaliukas is due to be offered a contract in the coming days and offered an assured performance yesterday.
Miller, who scored on his Rangers comeback in the 3-0 win over Buckie, took over from Nicky Clark as the lone striker. The Ibrox club posed more of a threat as a result. The former Scotland internationalist looked fit and sharp and his direct play, physicality and vision caused a clearly tiring Brora side all kinds of problems.
Gallagher also linked well with Barrie McKay, who had another bright run-out and set up a chance for the winger midway through the second half. McKay, though, could only hit the side netting.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon came when Boyd replaced Dean Shiels after 69 minutes to make his first appearance for Rangers in four years. The Scottish Premier League's all-time top goalscorer had not featured against Buckie as Rangers coaching staff felt he was behind his team-mates in terms of fitness.
However, the predatory forward - who underwent an ankle operation this summer - looked as dangerous in and around the box as he always has done. "Kris has just joined in with training in the last couple of days," said McDowall. "He had an ankle operation in the summer, just to clear up some rubbish, nothing major.
"Our physio has been working with him and doing some rehab but at this stage of the season there is obviously no rush to get him back. But he has joined in the last couple of days. It was always the plan to get him 20 minutes in the match against Brora and that is what we did. I am sure he will push on from here."
McGregor, meanwhile, should have done better with a header with just three minutes remaining after Boyd nodded the ball into his path following a corner from Fraser Aird. The former St Mirren defender's attempt from just a few yards out drifted wide.