Match report as Newcastle beat Rangers 2-1 at Ibrox in veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor’s testimonial; Miguel Almiron and Harrison Ashby score either side of Sam Lammers’ equaliser; Sandro Tonali impresses on Newcastle debut; Allan Saint-Maximin absent and set to move away from the club
23:40, UK, Tuesday 18 July 2023
Harrison Ashby scored an 87th-minute winner as Newcastle beat Rangers 2-1 in Allan McGregor’s testimonial at Ibrox.
Veteran goalkeeper McGregor, 41, left Rangers this summer after making over 500 appearances and winning 11 major honors over two spells in Glasgow, but his farewell performance ended in defeat.
Miguel Almiron deservedly opened the scoring for Newcastle in the 16th minute with a composed left-footed finish before new Rangers signing Sam Lammers equalized against the run of play in the second half following a defensive mix-up between Karl Darlow and Bruno Guimaraes (65). ).
With both sides changing their entire line-ups during the game, the game lacked clear-cut chances until Newcastle substitute Ashby rose highest to head home an Alexander Isak cross late on to give the visitors victory.
Newcastle handed a debut to the impressive Sandro Tonali following the midfielder’s £55m arrival. from AC Milan, while Allan Saint-Maximin did not travel as speculation over his future at St James’ Park continues to mount.
But the night itself was all about McGregor, who received a standing ovation when he was substituted shortly before half-time and again at the final whistle as he ended his 15-year association with Rangers.
How the teams lined up
Rangers first half: McGregor, Tavernier, Souttar, Davies, Barisic, Lundstram, Jack, Dowell, Cantwell, Lammers, Sima.
Rangers second half: Butland, Tavernier, Souttar, Balogun, Barisic, Lundstram, Jack, Cantwell, Sakala, Lammers, Sima.
All subs: Butland, Balogun, Sakala, Raskin, Hagi, Yilmaz, Wright, Matondo, Rice, Yfeko, Lowry.
Newcastle first half: Karius, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Targett, Longstaff, Anderson, Tonali, Almiron, Lewis, Wilson.
Newcastle second half: Darlow, Manquillo, Schar, Burn, Lewis, Guimaraes, Anderson, Miley, Gordon, Almiron, Isaac.
All subs: Isaac, Gordon, Miley, Burn, Guimaraes, Manquillo, Darlow, Ashby, A Murphy, Dummett, White.
Howe: Saint-Maximin move looks likely | ‘I don’t want to lose him’
Allan Saint-Maximin was absent for the friendly at Ibrox and after the game Newcastle boss Eddie Howe confirmed that the winger is likely to move on this summer.
Saint-Maximin is attracting interest from the Saudi Pro League and it is understood Al Ahli are leading the race for the 26-year-old’s signature.
Howe said: “Allan is in discussions about a move to another club. Nothing is confirmed and nothing is done. It’s still early stages and that’s why he wasn’t here.”
“With financial fair play you have to act or you’re stuck with us this summer and we couldn’t recruit players the other way.
“Maxi is a top player, we don’t want to lose him, we want to strengthen the group. But sometimes these things happen and we have to accept it and it’s early to talk about Maxi in the past tense at Newcastle, but our respect and love for him is the same as the followers.
“We love him and the supporters love him. If he goes, it will certainly be a difficult moment for all of us.
“There were a lot of feelings between us. I think, Allan, we have mutual respect. When a player has done well for me, which he has, you are grateful.
“We’ve had talks together. I respect him immensely. There’s been no problem between us and we’ve had a really healthy relationship from day one. Sometimes these things have to happen for the club to grow and Allan can experience something different.
“We could decide not to sell Maxi, but financial fair play forces it to some extent. We could be in a position where we could not recruit Sandro Tonali or any other player.”
Newcastle value Saint-Maximin at around £40m and his potential exit would speed up a move for Leicester’s Harvey Barnes, who is available for £40m.
The Magpies fly to the United States on Wednesday but Saint-Maximin will stay at home while midfielder Joelinton’s trip is delayed.
Of the Brazil international, Howe said: “There was a late complication. Joe had to go to London [on Tuesday] and we hope he may join us in America within a few days.”
How did Tonali perform for Newcastle?
Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom:
“Sandro Tonali put in an impressive display on his Newcastle debut, despite only featuring for 45 minutes.
“The 23-year-old, signed from AC Milan for £55m earlier this month, started brightly on the right of Newcastle’s midfield three and looked confident and strong in possession.
“He was heavily involved in Miguel Almiron’s opening goal with a crisp pass to Elliot Anderson and looks to have the physicality to adapt quickly to Premier League football.
“The Italy international was composed and aggressive at the right times at both ends of the pitch. He was substituted at half-time but the early signs are that he will be a fine addition to Newcastle’s midfield as they prepare for a demanding season in England and abroad.”
Beale: Rangers admire Danilo and Cifuentes
Rangers boss Michael Beale also addressed transfer speculation after the match, particularly the club’s interest in Feyenoord striker Danilo and Los Angeles FC midfielder Jose Cifuentes.
Asked specifically about these potential arrivals, Beale said: “Danilo is a player that we like and I think a lot of people like.
“He’s not the only forward we’re talking to, but he’s the one out there.
“Cifuentes is again a player we like and we hope it is someone who can progress.
“I think we need to bring in one more midfielder. He is strong, he works in the corridor, he can play deep or he can play as an eight.”
Asked if he hoped players would be around ahead of their first league game against Kilmarnock on August 5 – live on Sky Sports – Beale said: “Yes, definitely.
“You can see we did a lot of our work early. The boys have only been back two weeks and tonight was our first game in front of the public.
“I don’t want to put a number on how many will come in, the market moves quite quickly.
“We have real set goals and we’ve managed to get some done. I’m really happy with the work we’ve done.
“We will also see some outs in the coming days. We are ahead of schedule.”
On that note, Beale was also asked about midfielder Glen Kamara, who has been linked with Leeds.
He said: “There’s been quite a few inquiries for Glen. We gave him an extended break because of his international stuff in the summer and unfortunately he’s been ill for the last few days.
“He didn’t come to Germany with us, but he will be back in training in the coming days. It will be on, the speculation.”
Of Scott Wright, who has been linked with a move to Turkey, the former QPR boss said: “Scotty this summer has had one or two enquiries. He’s at an age where he wants to go and play regularly.
“I can’t guarantee that – he has to fight for his minutes like everyone else here.
“I’m not willing to guarantee anybody that they’re going to play and I think he’s at an age where he’s good enough to play and he probably feels he’s spent a lot of time here on trying to get into the team.
“We have Wednesday off, which gives him a chance to talk to one or two people and maybe make some decisions for himself. But nothing is guaranteed on that one.”
Rangers’ pre-season schedule
- July 7: Rangers 0-0 Livingston
- July 14: Hallescher 0-2 Rangers
- July 18: Rangers 1-2 Newcastle
- July 22: Rangers vs Hamburger, kick-off at 15 (Ibrox)
- July 26: Rangers vs Olympiakos, kick-off 7.45pm (Ibrox)
- July 29: Hoffenheim vs Rangers, kick-off 2.30pm (Rhein-Neckar-Arena)
Newcastle pre-season schedule
- 15th of July: Gateshead 2-3 Newcastle
- July 18: Rangers 1-2 Newcastle
- July 24: Newcastle vs Aston Villa, kick-off at 12 (Lincoln Financial Field, USA)
- July 27: Chelsea vs Newcastle, kick-off 1.15 (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, USA)
- July 29: Brighton vs Newcastle, kick-off at 12.30 (Red Bull Arena, USA)
- August 5: Newcastle vs Fiorentina, kick-off 3.30pm (St James’ Park)
- August 6: Newcastle vs Villarreal, kick-off at 16 (St James’ Park)
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Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumors in our dedicated Transfer Center blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up on ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports news.