A COOL finish by substitute Lewis Macleod was enough for Rangers to notch up a 1-0 friendly victory over League One side Bristol City at a searing hot Ashton Gate.
Scorer: Rangers - Macleod 63
Rangers keeper Cammy Bell was called into action early on to save Scott Wagstaff’s 25-yard shot. With temperatures soaring into the 30s, referee James Linington called a brief halt to proceedings after 20 minutes to allow the players to rehydrate, but both teams struggled to trouble the goalkeepers as the half wore on. Just before the break, however, Steven Smith set up Kyle Hutton, whose long-range shot forced Bristol keeper Frank Fielding to brilliantly tip the ball over the bar.
After 55 minutes, Ally McCoist made his first changes, bringing on Macleod for Nicky Law up front, and the move paid off as Jon Daly found Andrew Little, who provided a cut back for Macleod to beat Fielding from eight yards.
After the match McCoist said that he remained confident he could secure the signing of former Southend defender Bilel Mohsni, who played at Ashton Gate.
McCoist said: “I’m very, very hopeful we can get a deal sorted. He is settling in with the lads well both on and off the park.
“It would be ideal if we could maybe push that one through in the next day or two now.”
McCoist is also hopeful of signing Bosnia centre-half Boris Pandza, who is available on a free transfer from Mechelen.
McCoist added: “That would be the Christmas cake solution if we could both Bilel and Boris in and Craig has been in contact with his agent. I’d love to get another forward as well.
“[Head of football administration] Andrew Dickson has been discussing work permits and the possibility of that going by how many internationals Boris has played. That one is still in the pipeline.”
McCoist also welcomed the permanent appointment of Craig Mather as chief executive as a sign of growing stability inside the Ibrox corridors of power.
Mather was awarded the role on an ongoing basis on Friday after being installed as an interim measure in April following Charles Green’s departure.
There were more changes in the boardroom earlier this week with Malcolm Murray and Phil Cartmell ending their terms as directors months after a formal attempt to remove them was launched. Greenock-based businessman James Easdale joined the board at the same time.
Mather says he speaks to the Rangers manager on a daily basis and enjoyed a healthy working relationship, and McCoist is happy to see it continue.
McCoist, quoted on the club’s official website, said: “I’m delighted about it, absolutely delighted, and I’ve phoned Craig to congratulate him. I’ve said all along that we need to get stability at boardroom level and at the higher levels within the club.
“I believe we’re getting there now, I really do. I certainly hope so because that’s what we’ve been crying out for.
“The last couple of years have been traumatic to say the least for the football club but things are settling down and that helps.”
McCois added: “I’ve been working with Craig over players and pre-season and him and I are getting on really, really well.
“It’s important we are singing from the same hymn sheet and while we’ve still got a fair way to go, we’re going in the right direction and that’s good for people to see.”