Jermain Defoe marked his return to Ibrox with two goals but it wasn’t enough to earn Rangers the victory as Robin Van Persie inspired the visitors. It wasn’t a thriller as such, but the seven goals at least gave the crowd something to cheer.

It was Defoe that opened the scoring as he collected a cross from Alan Hutton and dinked the ball over David James from close range. His second, which made it 2-2, came from a rebound after James had saved his effort from the penalty spot.

In between those two efforts, Van Persie had brought the World XI level with a lovely glancing header from a Stewart Downing cross and Jack Wilshere had given them the lead as he rounded Ronald Waterreus after collecting a terrific Van Persie pass.

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The fifth goal of the afternoon was arguably the pick of the lot as Luis Boa Morte curled a strike beyond Waterreus and into the top corner from 25 yards. The winner came from Van Persie as he converted at the back post.

Rangers had pulled themselves level at 3-3 as Kris Boyd – who produced a clinical finish only to be denied by the offside flag – beat Paul Rachubka at the second attempt. Boyd wasn’t to be denied.

Rangers were, though. It was the World Legends who took the bragging rights as the Ibrox crowd showed their appreciation during a lap of honour on the whistle.


The hair may have thinned and the waistlines may have expanded slightly. In truth, more than a yard of pace had been lost by the passing of time.

But these matches are a reminder that the talent these players were blessed with can still come to the fore when the opportunity arises. There were still moments for the class to shine.

The term ‘legend’ is often overused in the game today and that was perhaps the case, with all due respect, for some of those in both sides but the Rangers team – skippered by a true great in Barry Ferguson – still had multiple medals on their respective records.

Some of those on show still looked in decent shape. Defoe and Van Persie, for example, were sharp and bright and both took their goals with the quality that they were famed for during their careers.

At 31, it was perhaps no surprise that Wilshere still looked the part. It was a shame in some regards and a harsh reminder of the toll that injuries had taken on the former Arsenal playmaker.

The game was understandably not played at any pace at all and there were few tackles made in a good-natured affair as both teams played in the spirit that was expected. Their efforts were appreciated by those that had turned out to watch them in action once again.

Wilshere was one of a host of internationalists in the World XI that were managed by Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler. Jaap Stam captained the side as the likes of Michael Essien, Emmanuel Petit and Kanu also got back on the park and played their part.


There would have been several thousands in the stands who were not even born when those on the park were in their pomp at Ibrox. This was still a day for supporters young and old to enjoy, however, as some of the greats of yesteryear pulled on their boots once again.

The celebrations had started on Saturday evening as Rangers hosted a ‘Night of Legends’ at New Edmiston House. The likes of Alex McLeish, Arthur Numan and Jorg Albertz took to the stage alongside broadcaster Emma Dodds to tell tales of title triumphs and relive the treasured memories from their glittering Ibrox careers.

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It is one thing hearing the stories. It is another to see the players in action, though, and the returning heroes and an array of big names from the English and European game were given a rousing welcome.

Players signed autographs throughout the afternoon as young fans also got the chance to pose for pictures with Broxi, Roxi and Boris. At half-time, Scots singer-songwriter Callum Beattie – decked out in Rangers shirt and club tartan kilt - entertained the crowd.

With ten minutes remaining, Beattie lived the dream of so many of those in the stands as he got the chance to play at Ibrox. Replacing Sasa Papac, he joined Kris Boyd and Daniel Cousin in attack.

For many, younger fans, this would have been their first experience of Ibrox and that feeling and those memories will live with them for a lifetime. It may not have been a competitive fixture but the chance to see the hallowed turf and blue sea of Ibrox will have made this an occasion to savour.