Rangers rounded off their summer schedule at Ibrox with a defeat against Olympiacos as Michael Beale’s side lost for the second time in pre-season.

A James Tavernier penalty proved to be a rare highlight for the home crowd as Rangers produced a largely forgettable performance under the floodlights.

The trip to face Hoffenheim this weekend will now round off the schedule before the competitive action begins away to Kilmarnock a week on Saturday.


A crowd of just under 30,000 turned out for the last of the three matches that Rangers have played on home soil this summer. After the defeat to Newcastle and win over Hamburg, this was not the finale that Rangers would have had in mind.

Konstantinos Fortounis opened the scoring with a deflected effort just before half-time and a quickfire brace from Joao Antonio Antunes Carvalho was enough to seal the win for the Greeks. Carvalho’s first was a scrappy effort that was bundled over the line, but his second was an accomplished low finish.

Rangers had replied from the spot after Todd Cantwell won a penalty. Beale’s side didn’t look like going on to win, though, and it was a disjointed showing on a night where better was expected.

Given the number of players that have been recruited in a short space of time and the limited period in which Beale has had to work with them, it would be stupid to make rash calls over what Rangers are likely to go on and achieve in the coming months.

The next ten days are crucial, though. An opening weekend fixture at Kilmarnock is far from the easiest way for Rangers to begin their title challenge and Beale needs to find a way to make the side more cohesive and clinical than they were in this lacklustre defeat.


The rebuilding job that has taken place over the summer has added strength and depth to the Ibrox ranks. As a result, deciphering the starting line-up has been a tricky business in pre-season.

It is, of course, all about fitness and sharpness at this stage as the style of play continues to be embedded in a squad that is changing all the time.

Beale could have gone with a more experimental team. This was not his strongest line-up, but it was still proof of the hand that he has at present as Jack Butland took a seat on the bench alongside John Lundstram and Ridvan Yilmaz and Ryan Jack missed out on the squad.

Beale is certainly not short of options at present. He opted not to risk Tom Lawrence or Kemar Roofe against the Greeks after their outings against Hamburg and both will get more time on the training ground under their belts ahead of the trip to face Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Dujon Sterling will return to the group on Friday, while defenders Leon King and Connor Goldson are on track to get back on the pitch next week. Those familiar faces will be joined by more new ones as the squad continues to evolve and improve.


Rangers are poised to complete the double signing of Danilo and Jose Cifuentes to further boost Beale’s squad ahead of the new campaign.

Striker Danilo will cost more than £5million when he competes a move from Feyenoord and an agreement has also been reached that will allow Cifuentes to arrive from Los Angeles FC after contract terms were previously agreed.

The Ecuadorian will require a work permit before he is allowed to join up with Beale’s squad as preparations continue for the Kilmarnock clash and the upcoming Champions League qualifiers against Genk or Servette.

Rangers will soon turn their attentions to trimming the size of Beale’s squad and the likes of Jon McLaughlin and Scott Wright will move on before the close of business this summer.

Nottingham Forest have been credited with an interest in left-back Borna Barisic while Glen Kamara is on the radar of Leeds United.


The likely departure of McLaughlin will not be the only change in the goalkeeping department at Ibrox in the coming weeks. It will be a case of two out and at least one in.

The arrival of Butland and his appointment as number one has set the tone for the campaign. The ramification, though, is that Robby McCrorie will look to leave the club this summer.

Rangers will not look to stand in his way in the coming weeks, but it remains to be seen if interested parties from south of the border will meet their valuation of the 25-year-old. If the price is right, McCrorie will not be short of suitors.

This was a chance for him to show what he can do once again. He had little to deal with apart from a header for the majority of a low-key first half but was then beaten by a deflection as Fortounis gave the Greeks the lead just before the break.

It was to prove his final action of the evening as McLaughlin replaced him for the restart. He had to pick the ball out of his net before the hour mark, though, as Olympiacos took the lead for the second time and he was well beaten as the win was secured minutes later.


The back four that started here was experienced and established. In time, it could well be much-changed as Beale considers his options.

The return of Goldson will naturally alter the line-up and the Englishman will come back into the side as soon as he is fit to do so. As a result, Ben Davies, who had to take his share of the blame for the opening goal, or John Souttar will have to make way and Leon Balogun’s game time could be limited on his return to Ibrox.

The arrival of another centre-back cannot be ruled out and that is an area of the side that could still be looked at before the close of business. On the left, it is all about who stays rather than who goes.

The future of Barisic has been up for debate for a while now and this was one of those performances that gave his critics ammunition. He dithered when he had the chance to drive on, his passing was safe rather than cutting and he was repeatedly targeted by the visitors as they focused many of their attacks towards the Croatian.

Yilmaz replaced him for the final half an hour. Come the competitive action, it would be no surprise to see the Turk get the nod more often than not and get the chance to establish himself.