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Rangers 1-1 Marseille: 6 takeaways from Gers’ friendly draw

Rangers looked vastly improved playing against top-class opposition in Marseille.

Rangers v Progres Niederkorn - UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Well, that was nice, wasn’t it? Rangers looked pretty damn good in a 1-1 draw with Marseille at Ibrox, dominating most of the game in the process.

We looked very fit

Rangers harried and pressed Marseille for much of the game and dominated until falling off for the last twenty minutes or so. That’s not too much of a problem - Marseille are well ahead of the quality of anyone we’ll be facing this season (yes, even that mob) and have a squad full of quality players and seasoned internationals.

It’s also worth mentioning that Marseille had already had five pre-season games, in which they had a 100% record, picking up five wins including against Sporting Lisbon and Fenerbahce. They’re in good shape, in good form, and fielded pretty much a full-strength side, but we more than matched them.

Consistency needs to be key

Ryan Jack was instrumental at controlling the game, dictating the high pace of our forward play, and put in some excellent defensive work. What he managed to do against Luiz Gustavo, he failed to do against some Luxembourgish jobbers. Similarly, Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin couldn’t get past James Tavernier at all, while the right-back also found the time to be a potent attacking force. Why can’t they play at this level more consistently? If they did, we would be a vastly more effective side.

The final ball still needs work

For the amount of nice play Rangers had in the final third, there weren’t too many clear chances - a consistent problem that’s dogged us since the dawn of the Mark Warburton era. Our final ball still needs work, and we still seem to have to work too hard to create decent opportunities. Today was, however, a lot more excusable as the excellent Adil Rami did well to plug the gaps in his team’s defence.

We look a lot more organised

Maybe it’s the team gelling, maybe it’s the presence of Bruno Alves. But it was a delight to see everybody taking up a good position and the team maintaining solid organisation whenever Marseille got forward. Our forward play might still be slightly questionable, but there’s no doubt that our performance in our own third of the pitch saw a vast improvement. We did concede as soon as Alves went off, but blaming Danny Wilson is a bit harsh - he’s not kicked a ball in a long time, and it was a virtually indefensible delivery and an excellent or lucky finish.

The strikers are looking better

Alright, we still had to rely on a moment of excellence from a set-piece to get our goal, but Herrera, Miller and Morelos all came close to scoring and looked enthusiastic and keen. The goals will surely come.

We might be in good shape after all

The worry about the start of the season was the suggestion of dressing room tension, discontent with Pedro Caixinha’s training methods, and an overall sour mood around the club as a whole. That didn’t look the case today - our teamwork and commitment were exactly at the level we’d like to see, and if we can approach the start of the season in a similar fashion then we should be in good shape. Hopefully the players will draw a lot of confidence from what was a very good performance.