Alex McLeish reacts to 'Massive' Rangers draw versus Arsenal
We’re delighted to welcome former Rangers manager Alex McLeish as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Ibrox…
Alex McLeish believes last week’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal will give Rangers a “massive confidence boost” heading into the new season, and send a message to the media.
The Gers stepped up their preparations for the 2020/21 campaign with the visit of the Premier League giants to Ibrox, in front of a fervent crowd.
Steven Gerrard’s side twice took the lead through Leon Balogun and Cedric Itten, but they were pegged back by the Gunners shortly after both goals.
Despite the game being just their third game of pre-season, former Rangers boss McLeish believes it could build momentum heading into their final two friendly fixtures, before the first Scottish Premiership clash against Livingston on July 31.
“It’s a massive confidence boost,” McLeish told Ibrox News.
“They took a massive confidence boost over the last few seasons competing with teams like Porto who are in the Champions League this season as well, so they have already gone in against some quality teams and they have grown in confidence and belief.
“It’s only a pre-season game but it’s still important to get the results as people are always judging, especially in the media, very early.
“It’s a great indicator.
“It’s always good to get good results against big opposition because it builds confidence while building fitness, which is the most important thing.”
Fitness the key
McLeish has a good point, in that shutting out big-name attackers like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe is sure to strengthen belief among the Gers defenders, for example.
However, it was still a weakened side named by former Rangers midfielder Mikel Arteta, while ours was a lot stronger due to being further along in our pre-season preparations.
If we had lost there shouldn’t have been outrage, nor should we get too confident after a draw.
The most important thing was to increase the fitness of our players to ensure they are in tip-top condition for the visit of Livingston on July 31.