Rangers 0-0 Brighton: Shane Duffy rises above the jeers and Enock Mwepu beds in
Brighton and Rangers played out a scoreless stalemate in Glasgow as the Seagulls continued to warm up for the new season next month.
Graham Potter handed Enock Mwepu and Kjell Scherpen their first starts and the latter was the busier of the debutants, with the home side on the attack from the start.
He was almost caught out when Swiss striker Cedric Itten caught him in possession on the edge of his box but his blushes were spared when, after an exchange of passes and lofted shot Shane Duffy cleared off the line.
Duffy was a focal point to this game - particularly for the Rangers support keen to remind him of previous season at Celtic, and the club’s regained status as champions of Scotland.
His every touch was sarcastically cheered - but the Irishman took the jeers in his stride and performed well on his return to the Seagulls side.
Mwepu looks to be a handful, eager and strong, but yet to bed in after newly arriving at the club.
Sherpen also denied Jordan Jones and Scott Wright, but all Brighton really had to show before the interval was an Aaron Connolly drive saved by Jon McLaughlin and a header from Duffy that flew over.
Rangers kick off their league title defence next week with Potter’s team still three weeks from their own kick-off and the contrasting preparations showed with the scale of the half-time changes. Potter made wholesale changes to Gerrard’s three though more came through as the second half progressed without score.
Former Brighton duo Leon Balogun and Connor Goldson replaced one another as the home manager changed it around and after 62 minutes a face familiar to the EPL side - John Lundstram, last season of Sheffield United - thumped a drive off the post from 25 yards after one of the changes.
It was the closest either side would come to breaking the deadlock and with the likes of Jermaine Defoe and Ianis Hagi on for the latter stages it was Rangers who kept up the pressure against Potter’s second selection without scoring, but it was more minutes and fitness in the tank for both as they gear up for their respective seasons.
Rangers: McLaughlin, Bassey (Barisic 63), Balogun (Goldson 71), Simpson (Katic 46), Patterson (Tavernier 71), Kamara (Hagi 46), Kelly (Davis 71), Arfield (Lundstram 46), Wright (Sakala 63), Jones (Kent 71), Itten (Defoe 63).
Brighton (first half): Scherpen, Connolly, Maupay, Mwepu, Gross, Lallana, Zeqiri, Duffy, Khadra, Burn, Leonard.
Brighton (second half): Steele, Bissouma, Alzate, Welbeck, March, Andone, Tau, Ostigard, Richards, Tsoungui, Tanimowo.