Rangers rounded off their pre-season schedule with a draw against Hoffenheim as Michael Beale’s side came from two goals down against their Bundesliga hosts.

Pavel Kadeřábek and Ihlas Bebou had Hoffenheim cruising at the break. But James Tavernier netted from the spot and Sam Lammers headed home to ensure Rangers avoided a third defeat of the summer.

Beale handed £5million signing Danilo his debut in the second half and the Light Blues will now turn their attentions to the Premiership opener away to Kilmarnock next Saturday.


The fourth and final pre-season fixture was an important and enlightening one for Rangers. Once again, it was a mixed occasion in terms of the result and the performance.

The way in which Rangers improved after the break and recovered from 2-0 down is certainly a positive to take. Tavernier made no mistake with a clinical penalty into the top corner and Lammers was again one of the brightest sparks as he completed the comeback with a fine header across goal.

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Hoffenheim were well worth their lead at the interval and could have been out of sight. Rangers were lacklustre off the ball and loose on it as their Bundesliga hosts strolled through the first half and exploited the gaps in the Light Blues’ midfield and defence with relative ease.

Rangers would have learned nothing by playing against lesser opposition and racking up the goals with a handful of one-sided wins. The fixtures with Newcastle United, Hamburg, Olympiacos and this trip to Germany have served a purpose but concerns have also been raised.

In a sense, the final outing summed up the summer. The fitness and sharpness gained will stand Rangers well but it showed that the gears must be moved through quickly now that the competitive action is only days away.


Beale revealed pre-match that a sickness bug had denied him the services of ‘three or four’ players as his squad was depleted. Two of those absences came at the heart of the defence as John Souttar and Ben Davies both missed out on the final friendly and the loss of Leon Balogun with a quarter of an hour remaining was a cause for concern.

The Ibrox boss also described the competition at left-back as ‘fierce’ as he deliberates over who to start now that the proper stuff is looming large. Ridvan Yilmaz got the nod ahead of Borna Barisic here but there is no stand-out candidate at present and Dujon Sterling is short of match minutes after making his debut off the bench in the closing stages.

Yilmaz had to take a share of the blame for the opener as Rangers failed to clear their lines. Johnly Yfeko was culpable, too, after showing his inexperience and being dragged out of position.

When the second goal arrived just before the break, Rangers couldn’t say it hadn’t been coming. Beale’s side had been susceptible throughout the half and Yilmaz and Yfeko were again at fault as the cross wasn’t stopped from the left and Bebou converted from inside the six-yard box.

The return of Connor Goldson cannot come soon enough for Rangers. It remains likely that Beale will go back into the transfer market to strengthen the defence, though.


One of the benefits of this remodelled squad is the options that Beale has in terms of personnel and approach. A number of these players, especially those in the attacking third, are able to operate in different roles and that flexibility will prove beneficial over the course of the campaign.

Beale used this fixture as a dry run for the kind of matches that Rangers will encounter on their travels in European competition this term and part of that blueprint saw a flatter midfield four utilised. Abdallah Sima operated from the right, while Todd Cantwell started on the left.

The Herald: Nicolas Raskin and Todd Cantwell

It was tough to find the positives in the system in the first half. Neither of those that assumed the wide berths were able to protect their respective full-backs often enough and Rangers had little control in the middle of the park.

The introductions of Ryan Jack and Kieran Dowell coincided with a marked improvement after the break as both staked their claim to start against Kilmarnock. Nicolas Raskin is a certain name on the team sheet regardless of the formation but John Lundstram’s place is up for debate and the imminent arrival of Jose Cifuentes will give Beale another hand to play.


Beale had to add guile and goals to the side this summer and the Ibrox board have certainly backed him in that endeavour as Lammers, Cyriel Dessers and Danilo have arrived for significant fees.

It was Lammers and Dessers that were paired together from the start in Germany. Once again, Rangers lacked a cutting edge as they picked up where they left off in midweek against Olympiacos, but they did improve as the afternoon unfolded.

Lammers has shown his technical ability and how comfortable he is on the ball during his outings so far. A glancing header from a Tavernier cross was a moment of quality and saw him add to his goal against Newcastle to round off an encouraging pre-season campaign.

But it is hard to judge Dessers at this stage given the paucity of the service he has been provided with and the relatively few chances he has had in the area. The Nigerian did well to earn the penalty that Tavernier converted to reduce the arrears and the game time should stand him in good stead.

The sight of Danilo in a Rangers jersey was one of the highlights for those that travelled and those that watched from home. The Brazilian looked bright off the bench and time will tell how quickly he can get up to speed following his move from Feyenoord.


It has been a satisfying summer in many regards for Rangers as widespread changes have been made in the boardroom and the changing room. There is a new look and a fresh feel around Ibrox.

But that will only be maintained if the performances and results follow and Beale will be fully cognisant of the need for Rangers to start quickly now that the competitive fixtures are the next ones on the agenda.

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The trip to Rugby Park is far from the easiest assignment on the first day of the Premiership campaign, while the Champions League qualifier with Genk or Servette carries huge ramifications on and off the field. The opening weeks can, therefore, shape the season.

Supporters will be concerned at how Beale’s side have shaped up so far but the optimism levels will rise once again as excitement builds in the coming days. Momentum is hard to find and maintain but that is the opportunity that Rangers now have heading into a high-stakes season.