Gers slip to third straight loss
Rangers manager Ally McCoist will take the positives from his side's pre-season tour of Germany despite suffering a third defeat in as many games on Wednesday evening.
Rangers failed to find the target yet again as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, having previously drawn a blank in previous losses to Sportfreunde Lotte and Bochum.
Goals from Tranquillo Barnetta and Michael Ballack in either half were enough to secure a comfortable victory for the hosts, who rarely looked in danger despite McCoist electing to field the same line-up for the entire 90 minutes.
Nevertheless, the Gers boss remains happy with the progress over the three games. "Maybe results mean a lot to people right now, but not to me,'' McCoist said.
"As long as there is an improvement in terms of our preparation and being ready for the start of the season, that's the most important thing.
"Obviously we want to win, score goals and play well and the boys were a wee bit down after the game. The result disappoints us, that goes without saying, but a number of factors really pleased us.
"I think that's the best we have played against a top, top team. They are a very good side as their results in the Bundesliga last season shows.''
Leverkusen, who will contest the Champions League this season after a strong showing last term, hit the front on 14 minutes when Barnetta fired home after picking up on a loose ball when the Rangers defence could only half-clear Lars Bender's cross.
Allan McGregor made a couple of decent saves to keep the score down in the opening period, and while Rangers looked relaxed in possession and displayed good energy, they lacked a cutting edge up front.
The hosts made a number of changes in the second period, with the likes of Ballack entering the action, but Rangers continued to give a good account of themselves and might have levelled had Kirk Broadfoot showed better composure in front of goal on 69 minutes.
As it was, Leverkusen extended their lead on 80 minutes when Broadfoot hauled down Stefan Kiessling, and Ballack had the straightforward task of stepping up and rifling the ball down the middle of the goal to settle the result.
Next up for Rangers are further friendlies against Linfield and Blackpool before the start of the season on July 23, and McCoist is refusing to take any negatives from his side's results in Germany with the new campaign looming.
"We can't forget that the Germans are way ahead of us in terms of their pre-season training and they've played a lot more games,'' he added on the club's official website.
"But (on Wednesday) there was a vast improvement from our first game and hopefully there will be an improvement again against Linfield and Blackpool so we will be ready for Hearts.''