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Steven Davis stars as Rangers dominate Real Madrid in pre-season friendly


Midfield boss: Steven Davis had an assist in Rangers win over Real Madrid. Credit: Getty Images

Midfield boss: Steven Davis had an assist in Rangers win over Real Madrid. Credit: Getty Images

Getty Images

Midfield boss: Steven Davis had an assist in Rangers win over Real Madrid. Credit: Getty Images

Rangers warmed up for the start of their Scottish Premiership title defence with an impressive 2-1 friendly victory over Real Madrid at Ibrox with Northern Ireland skipper Steven Davis in superb form.

Midfielder Davis earned an assist for the winning goal from substitute Cedric Itten on 77 minutes yesterday just after Nacho had been sent off for the visitors who took the lead early on through Rodrygo before new Rangers signing Fashion Sakala grabbed a deserved equaliser for Steven Gerrard’s men with 55 on the clock.

Real were without their Euro 2020 players but their team included the likes of Marcelo, Luka Jovic, Martin Odegaard and Isco. Even so, Rangers’ dominance was shown in the stats as they had 21 shots, including eight on target, to Real’s five and only one on target.

The Light Blues were held to a goalless draw by Brighton on Saturday but boss Steven Gerrard had been happy with their "dominant" display, and they stepped up a gear against the Spanish giants in front of about 12,500 fans at Ibrox.

Gerrard said on his club's website: "First and foremost, we deserved the win and we have been excellent over the whole weekend.

"Obviously, it was two different teams for obvious reasons, but every single person over the course of the two 90 minutes has been excellent and they have given me a lot to think about in the two days in terms of picking teams for real next week.

"That is the problem I wanted - to challenge the team, and could they build on yesterday's performance, and to be fair, they have backed it up.

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"It shows the quality and the strength in depth we have got around the dressing room, so I am really happy and content, but at the same time, it is important we stay calm.

"We have two down days now just to recover and get ready, and from Wednesday, it is important that everyone's focus is top and ready for (the opening Scottish Premiership game next weekend against) Livingston.

"We have got valuable minutes into important players and we have shown a level out of possession that I really like - our speed across the grass, our aggression and moving together as a unit in our shape, I am really happy with that and yesterday, we did a lot of things right but we missed a little bit of magic in the final third in terms of our outcomes, but today, we found that magic.

"It was two great finishes from the boys and they will get a lot of plaudits, but for me, I am more pleased with the two performances from everyone over the weekend."

Not for the first time over the past 12 months Davis was a controlling influence in the middle of the park with Rangers the better side for long periods.

Davis was replaced on 85 minutes with his Northern Ireland team-mate Jordan Jones - back with Rangers after a loan spell with Sunderland - coming off the bench prior to that on 72, showing flashes of the pace that he possesses.

Meanwhile Rangers will host Dunfermline in the second round of the Scottish League following yesterday’s draw with holders of the competition St Johnstone travelling to Arbroath. The tie of the round sees Celtic at home to Hearts with Hibs entertaining Kilmarnock and Motherwell going to Dundee the other highlights.

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