RANGERS manager Mark Warburton hailed the impact of new signing Josh Windass after he marked his first appearance in Light Blue with a goal.
The former Accrington playmaker opened the scoring for the Ibrox men as they kicked off their pre-season schedule with a 2-1 win over Charleston Battery in South Carolina.
Winger Harry Forrester added a second before Ataullah Guerra pulled one back for the American hosts late on when he fired past Gers debutant goalkeeper Matt Gilks.
But it was the display of Windass – son of former Aberdeen and Hull striker Dean – that stood out for boss Warburton.
The Englishman told RangersTV: “Josh has come in and settled really well with the group, and all credit to him and to the group for embracing each other in the way they have. I thought he made an impression – he can change a game, showed a good change of pace and delivered in the final third.”
The match at the MUSC Health Stadium is the Ladbrokes Championship winners’ only friendly workout before they get down to competitive action against Motherwell a week on Saturday in their opening Betfred Cup clash.
But Warburton was pleased with the exercise – even if his men were forced to hang about for over an hour as a severe thunderstorm delayed kick-off.
“Whenever you come to the States, these guys are right in the middle of their season,” the former Brentford boss said. “They’re fit, strong and organised, and generally in a good place.
“So it was a good test for us on a good surface, and we have really enjoyed the trip. The hospitality shown to us by the Battery has been magnificent, and we have worked hard all week, and that performance (on Wednesday night) was a culmination of all of that to see where we were at fitness-wise against a very strong, athletic and quality opposition.
“We looked in good shape, though. It’s been a really hard eight or nine days but the boys have worked exceptionally well over that time in really gruelling conditions. We looked strong, quick and we moved the ball well, and for the first run-out, I am really pleased.”
He added: “We arrived here and it was 96 degrees, but to have it at 80 or so for kick-off was good for us, and the pitch was slick and wet as well, which also helped as we could move the ball.”
Gers started with trialist and former United States international Oguchi Onyewu in the heart of their defence, while Gilks and centre-back Clint Hill joined Windass in making their Rangers debuts after climbing off the bench.
Windass fired into the roof of the Battery net after 57 minutes following good work by substitute Michael O’Halloran while Forrester capped off his return to action after three months out with a broken leg when he found the target with a quarter of an hour remaining.
There were also run-outs for several of Warburton’s Murray Park youngsters, with Tom Walsh particularly impressive.
Warburton said: “I was delighted for the new guys – Matt, Josh and Clint – getting on, and the young boys did well too, so all over the park there were good performances, and it was a look at where we were physically after the first eight or nine days, and right now, it’s so far so good.
“Harry, we know all about his ability and he had the injury at the end of last season, so he has a bit more work to catch up on, but again, really pleasing to get him half an hour and he made an impression.”
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