With temperatures soaring into the thirties Ally McCoist’s new look squad produced a confident, hard-working display and it was super sub Lewis Macleod who produced an ice cool finish after the hour mark to secure another morale-boosting result.
The game, billed the Blackthorn Cup as both clubs have the same shirt sponsor, served up plenty of action for the 2,500 travelling Bears to enjoy and they got behind the players from the kick-off from the shaded Wedlock Stand.
Wearing the club’s stunning new Puma home kit Nicky Clark and Jon Daly started in attack with Steven Smith utilised on the left side of midfield in front of vice-captain Lee Wallace as part of a 4-4-2 formation.
New signing Arnold Peralta wasn’t stripped but took in the game from the away dug-out, sitting alongside the Gers coaching staff and subs.
Bristol boss Sean O’Driscoll opted for a 3-5-2 formation with midfielder Liam Kelly the only familiar name in the home side’s starting eleven from his time north of the border with Kilmarnock.
Rangers started brightly as did the home side and Cammy Bell had to be alert to make an early save from Scott Wagstaff’s dipping shot from 25 yards which was sneaking in at the keeper’s near post.
With the playing surface in immaculate condition there was plenty of intricate passing with both sets of players working hard on and off the ball. So much so, in fact, that on 20 minutes referee James Linington blew his whistle for an unexpected water break which the teams made the most of.
After a bit of rehydration the action resumed but there were few goalscoring opportunities to write about before the half-time interval with both sides unable produce a killer pass or moment of real quality in the last third.
The closest Rangers came to breaking the deadlock was in the 40th minute when Smith teed up Kyle Hutton and his right foot shot from distance was tipped brilliantly over the bar by the Robin’s goalkeeper Frank Fielding.
McCoist stayed with the same eleven players for the restart and within five minutes a clever knock down by Daly fell into the path of his strike partner Clark but his first touch was heavy and the ball ran safely through to Bristol’s keeper.
It was better though from the visitors and after positive play from Andy Little on the right wing Smith hit a rising effort from 20 yards which had to be watched closely by Fielding as it was caught by the vociferous Bears behind his goal.
On 55 minutes McCoist made his first changes with Macleod replacing the industrious Nicky Law while Robbie Crawford replaced Clark who again put in a good shift.
On 62 minutes the gaffer made a further switch with Aird taking up Stevie Smith’s role but it was Macleod that opened the scoring with his third pre-season goal.
Daly latched on to a defensive error and fed the ball to Little who cut it back to Macleod who made no mistake, firing his low shot through Fielding’s legs from eight yards.
After his two strikes against Brora Macleod is certainly showing a desire to add more goals to his game which can only bode well for the club ahead of the new season.
City, however, should have levelled immediately with Ryan Taylor getting in behind the Gers backline but his right foot shot flew wide of Bell’s far post.
In the end the Light Blues were comfortable in the latter stages with trialist Bilel Mohsni again impressing alongside Emilson Cribari as Rangers made it three clean sheets from their three summer games so far.
That will undoubtedly please Ally McCoist and his coaching staff as they depart from Bristol Airport at 5.30pm this evening for Germany where they will play in two further games against FC Gutersloh on Wednesday and FC Emmen on Saturday, July 20.
RANGERS (4-4-2): Bell; Foster (Faure 77), Cribari (Gasparotto 70, Mohsni, Wallace; Little (McAusland 73), Hutton (Black 67), Law (Macleod 55), Smith (Aird 62); Daly (McCulloch 64), Clark (Crawford 55)
Subs not used: Gallacher (GK)
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