Key Rangers duo absent in low-key opening friendly but injury victims make welcome return

Clement’s team begin pre-season with goalless draw against Belgian opposition

Rangers returned to action with a goalless draw against Standard Liege in a pre-season friendly in the Netherlands.

In what was the first warm-up match for Philippe Clement’s men ahead of the new season, 23 players featured against the Belgian side in Venlo.

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Colombian winger Oscar Cortes was eased back into action, featuring for the first 30 minutes of the game after five months out with a knee injury.

In terms of new signings, former Aberdeen midfielder Connor Barron played the first half, while left-back Jefte and centre-half Clinton Nsiala came on for the second period.

There was no run-out for the likes of captain James Tavernier and midfielder Todd Cantwell, who have both been linked with summer moves. Centre-half Connor Goldson, who has been linked with a move to Birmingham City, played the second half - his first appearance since a knee injury.

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In a low-key match, Rangers’ best chance came towards the end when Alex Lowry hit the post with a curling effort.

First-team coach Alex Rae told the Rangers website that the training camp had been a useful knowledge-gathering exercise as well as a chance to build up fitness.

“It’s been full on, we’ve got individual talks with the players as well and that has been really beneficial,” he said.

“It’s interesting to see their perspective on things, how we can improve as a staff towards them physically, mentally, and tactically. We are utilising every minute we get.

“Some of these guys are new so it makes it interesting, and you get to know them more on a personal side of things as well.”

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Rangers take on Ajax on Saturday ahead of facing Manchester United on July 20 at Murrayfield.

Rangers first half: Butland, King, Souttar, Davies, Ridvan, Diomande, Barron, Lawrence, McCausland, Dessers, Cortes (Fraser, 30)

Rangers second half: Butland, Balogun, Goldson, Nsiala, Jefte, Raskin, McKinnon, Dowell, Wright, Curtis (Lowry, 75), Fraser (Matondo, 60)

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