Last updated : 31 July 2002 By Grandmaster Suck


Attendance 18,000 


Rangers’ first visit to the home of a club that so mirrors their own traditions and history for eighteen years (at first team level at any rate) saw the Ibrox men defeat Linfield 2-0 tonight.


Manager Alex McLeish made wholesale changes from Sunday’s starting line-up – fully eleven changes as Rangers failed to fulfil their promise to field their strongest side.


Nevertheless there was a gala atmosphere at a packed Windsor Park, with former Ranger Lee Feeney in the home line-up.


Linfield were first to threaten when Allan McGregor under pressure punched clear from Jamie Marks in eight minutes.


Six minutes later a Michael Mols shot flashed wide from a Stephen Hughes pass.


The game was scarcely memorable – typical pre-season

fare in fact – and it took until the 26th minute before home goalkeeper Alan Mannus had to make a save when he held Christian Nerlinger’s low drive from a Tore Andre Flo lay-off.


Two minutes later however Rangers finally made the

breakthrough when Billy Dodds bundled home a Kevin Muscat cross.


Linfield continued to make their presence felt however – Hugh Dickson powering forward five minutes later to send 25-yard shot inches over.


Mols came close to putting the visitors two up in 37 minutes when Stephen Collier cleared his effort from a Flo nod-down off the line.


There was an injury scare for the Ibrox men just before the interval when Nerlinger required treatment, but the midfielder was able to resume after treatment.



The second-half was little better, although Linfield were certainly giving a good account of themselves. For too long Rangers seemed content to play in a lower gear.


A slide-rule pass from Nerlinger released Maurice Ross wide on the left in 70 minutes, but the Scottish Internationalist dragged his shot wide of the target.


Six minutes later the game was safe when substitute Russell Latapy produced a superb piece of close control before finding Flo who turned his marker before stabbing the ball wide of Mannus.


The introduction of substitute Shota Arveladze produced some light relief when the forward – a member of the Georgian Orthodox Church – blessed himself as he entered the field of play, leading to some

good-natured booing from the home fans.


Stephen Hughes almost added a third goal in 84 minutes when his drive from a Neil McCann corner flashed just over the crossbar.


The game ended with both sides receiving a standing ovation from the 18,000 crowd as they left the field.


LINFIELD Mannus; Collier, McShane (Hunter 45); Marks

(Scates 59), Murphy (Picking 74), Shaw (King 53); Morgan (McBride 39), Dickson, Ferguson (Thompson 80), Feeney (Chimes 80), Bailie



RANGERS McGregor; Muscat, Malcolm, Konterman, Ross;

Hughes, Dodds, Nerlinger, McCann; Mols (Latapy 64), Flo (Arveladze 80) UNUSED SUBS. Klos, Ricksen, Ferguson, Amoruso