Last updated : 18 January 2003 By Grandmaster Suck
Today's scorer, Kevin Muscat
A last-minute Kevin Muscat penalty saved Rangers from defeat in Dubai this evening at the conclusion of what has been a most successful week in the United Arab Emirates.

The Aussie's first goal for the club ensured a 1-1 draw against Bundesliga side Energie Cottbus in front of a modest crowd of perhaps 3,000 spectators.

Both Neil McCann and Christian Nerlinger were fielded from the start, hopefully signalling their full recuperation from lengthy injury absences. Trialists Dan Eggan and Jerome Bonnicell also played from the start.

The opening half-hour was very much a low key affair with both sides content to stroke the ball around.

Finally, tired by the lack of bite, Fernando Ricksren clattered Marco Gebhardt and was promptly spoken to by the local referee.

At last the game came to life - two minutes later Barry Ferguson clashed with Moussa Latoundji, but on this occasion the incident was ignored by the official.

In what was just about the first effort at goal at either end, Maurice Ross should have opened the scoring in 37 minutes when a delightful flick by Ronald De Boer released the Scot in on goal, only to slice his shot wide.

A dreary first-half ended goalless, and Manager Alex McLeish rang the changes at the interval, introducing no fewer than five substitutes.

The Germans opened the scoring in 58 minutes when Reghecampf caught Allan McGregor by surprise with a low left-foot drive from the edge of the box following a cross from Gebhardt.

Rangers tried to respond immediately - Nerlinger testing substitute goalkeeper Tomislav Piplica with a 22-yard free-kick that was fisted away in 63 minutes, then five minutes later Ricksen worked an opening for Mols only for the goalkeeper to again be equal to the task.

The game had certainly taken on a competitive edge since the opening half-hour with two Cottbus players yellow-carded, and Ricksen was added to the list in 73 minutes when he fouled Zolt Low.

Finally, just when it appeared that the Ibrox men were doomed to defeat Michael Mols was upended by Marcel Rosgonyi and Kevin Muscat blasted home the resultant penalty to ensure a 1-1 draw.

Both trialists had certainly acquited themselves well, although this was not the game to pass judgement.

Alex McLeish afterwards expressed his contentment with the exercise:

"It was a good outing. The late change of opponent was a problem - Energie Cottbus have had more preparation, and were sharp and physical. Both newcomers did well and have bee accepted by the players. I'm not yet ready to make a definite committment.

"I'd like to thank everyone for the hospitality we have received in Dubai."

RANGERS Klos (McGregor 45); Ross (Muscat 45), Eggan, Amoruso (Malcolm 45), Bonnicell; Ricksen, Nerlinger, Ferguson (Moore 58), McCann (Caniggia 45); Thompson (Mols 45), De Boer