Rangers 1, Burnley 3

With Rangers four games in to their campaign, Burnley boss Sean Dyche felt the fixture at Ibrox would be the next logical step in their preparations for the Premier League.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 30th July 2016, 5:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th July 2016, 6:19 pm
Andre Gray
Andre Gray

Heading in to the clash Mark Warburton's side had picked up 12 points in Group F of the Scottish League Cup having scored 10 times, without conceding, in games against Motherwell, Annan Athletic, East Stirling and Stranraer.

However, the friendly simply portrayed the gulf in class between England's top flight and the Scottish Premiership as the Clarets coasted to victory.

And it was Andre Gray's hat-trick that did the damage, the man that was introduced to the Football League by Frank McParland and Warburton during the pair's tenure at Brentford.

The club's £6m record signing, taken from Conference champions Luton Town to Griffin Park for £500,000 two years ago, took his tally to eight goals in five pre-season outings when emulating the goal-scoring feat that downed Bristol City at Turf Moor in December.

The 25-year-old, who culminated last term as the Championship's most prolific frontman, netted his first from the spot. After being dragged down by veteran Clint Hill, with the defender caught out by Dean Marney's incisive pass, Gray converted to Wes Foderingham's left while sending the goalkeeper in the opposite direction.

Former Croatian international Niko Kranjcar sought an immediate response when shaping a left-footed shot towards the bottom corner but the effort, which Tom Heaton seemingly had covered, travelled just wide of the upright.

That opportunity would be the only time the visitors were genuinely exposed in the first half as Rangers failed to assert themselves, despite playing their first competitive fixture two weeks ago.

Martyn Waghorn missed the target with a header from James Tavernier's pass when stood in an offside position and Heaton comfortably gathered Joey Barton's set-piece but that was the extent of the home side's threat.

Sam Vokes, getting his first minutes under his belt since featuring for Wales at the European Championships in France, pulled a right-footed shot wide of the post from 20 yards out just before the quarter-of-an-hour but Gray hit the target again moments later.

Hill, once again, was at the centre of Rangers' downfall as Gray eased goal side of the defender from Scott Arfield's penetrative pass and the striker applied a neat finish, tucking the ball between Foderingham and the woodwork.

Vokes, who scored a tremendous header in his nation's famous triumph over Belgium, couldn't quite match the accuracy of his strike partner when side-footing an attempt against the foot of the post from inside the penalty area once Arfield and Gray had combined in the build up.

Wholesale changes were made after the interval and Rangers had more of an impact but the 54-time SPL champions still didn't pack much of a punch.

Gray administered the knockout blow in the 53rd minute, completing his hat-trick with a confident finish after substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz had flicked on Danny Lafferty's pass.

And after George Boyd lifted over the bar on the half-volley from Marney's lofted ball over the head of Rob Kiernan, the hosts pulled a goal back.

Andy Halliday threaded a slide rule pass in to Michael O'Halloran and the substitute's cross from the bye-line was diverted in to his own net by Ben Mee.

The Clarets round their pre-season off on Friday against La Liga outfit Real Sociedad ahead of the Premier League opener against Swansea City on August 13th.

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