A late goal from Cedric Itten was enough to ensure Rangers got their pre-season off to a winning start on a sedate evening at Firhill.
Hosts Partick Thistle were playing in front of fans for the first time since early 2020 as they warmed up for the League Cup group stage.
But it was the visitors who got the win as they built their fitness for their defence of the Premiership crown in a match that had a real pre-season feel.
It was a somewhat unfamiliar Rangers line-up, with players absent after competing at Euro 2020 and the Copa America.
Manager Steven Gerrard selected Robbie McCrorie in goal, with Jack Simpson and George Edmundson getting rare starts in defence.
Winger Jordan Jones also came in after returning from a loan spell at Sunderland.
The early knockings were typical of a pre-season game, with not so much as a corner until 16 minutes into the match.
Veteran Jermain Defoe had the first chance of the match as a slip from Ross Docherty in midfield gifted possession to Rangers.
The striker was played through one-on-one with Jamie Sneddon but he went for the nutmeg and it hit the goalkeeper’s legs rather than the back of the net.
It was Thistle who came closest to opening the scoring, with McCrorie forced to tip over a Brian Graham header after a fine cross from from former Rangers man Richard Foster.
Glen Middleton had the chance to break the deadlock shortly thereafter but he snatched badly at his shot and it dribbled wide.
It wasn’t anyone’s side of a classic first half, referee Greg Aitken actually blew up a few seconds early to send the players back to the dressing room.
Gerrard rang the changes at half-time as he switched his entire XI, with the likes of Joe Aribo, James Tavernier and Steven Davis entering the fray for the second 45.
It coincided with a spell of pressure for the visitors, with Tavernier seeing a shot deflected over after some good work by Calvin Bassey down the left.
Young midfielder Stephen Kelly impressed after coming on, always looking to get on the ball, and he was unlucky to see a left-footed shot come back off the far post.
The other post was rattled shortly after as Rangers missed the chance to go ahead from the spot.
Aitken judged that Tavernier’s free-kick had hit an arm and pointed to the spot, but Tavernier’s effort came back off the base of the woodwork.
Rangers couldn’t be denied forever though and they grabbed a late winner through Cedric Itten.
Ianis Hagi knocked the ball down and his Swiss team-mate was on hand to fire home from close range.
It won’t live long in the memory, other than for fans who got to return to the football for the first time in 18 months, but both side will feel it was a worthwhile exercise.
3 talking points
There may not have been many of them but what a joy to see and hear supporters back in a stadium for a domestic match.
The game didn’t give them too much to cheer about, indeed staying awake may have been a bigger issue, but you can be sure the Jags fans will have felt a swell of emotion at seeing the green, green grass of home.
With restrictions due to be lifted in August, lets hope we’ll see stadiums rocking sooner rather than later.
All Wright on the night
He arrived in January from Aberdeen but Scott Wright’s Rangers career will really get under way this season.
The 23-year-old looked keen to impress and was a standout in an otherwise flat first half from the second string.
Wright was deployed in a more central role than we’re accustomed to seeing him, which could be a hint as to how Gerrard sees him operating going forward.
Give it some Kelly
On as a second half substitute, Stephen Kelly will have done his chances of being involved over the course of the season no harm at all.
The 21-year-old spent last season on loan at Ross County and may well be farmed out again but he was in impressive form here.
Wearing the number 20 shirt the young midfielder was everywhere, demanding the ball in tight areas as he went box-to-box.
He could have scored with a left-footed shot which came off the post, and was one of the few players on the pitch offering a real spark.