A goal in each half from Rangers XI saw Cambridge United beaten 2-0 in the U’s first game on their pre-season Scotland Tour.
United competed well in another high quality test, but goals from Andrew Dallas and Jamie Barjonas saw the Gers come out on top.
The U’s found themselves behind after nine minutes when Andrew Dallas fired past Mitov across the Bulgarian’s goal on the end of Serge Atakayi’s through ball.
The hosts then came close to doubling their advantage five minutes later on the counter attack, which saw Jamie Barjonas open his body up for a shot from 20 yards that skidded off the slick surface and wide of the U’s target.
Jabo Ibehre wrestled in the Rangers area but couldn’t get his head to an in-swinging cross from the left wing to force a save from Rangers keeper Firth. The hosts managed to escape unscathed when Ben Worman’s cross rattled around the 18 yard box soon after, before counter attacking and were only denied by a great hard working run back from Liam O’Neil who ensured united stayed strong too.
Colin Calderwood’s men grew into the half from there and after Dallas missed a guilt edged opportunity from close range to double his and Rangers tally for the first half, it was the U’s who finished the half the stronger. Albeit George Taft’s header wide of the mark and Luke Hannant’s shot which forced a save by Firth was as close as they came to scoring.
The U’s returned with eight changes after the break, including Wes Hoolahan who was quick to look lively in the final third of the pitch, twisting and turning on the ball before his shot was blocked. The Irishman’s quick free kick almost set up an equaliser too, when Kyle Knoyle wrapped a cross into the feet of Harry Darling but the centre back’s firmly struck effort was blocked by the legs of Firth in the Gers’ goal.
Just as United looked to have a good foothold in the game, Jamie Barjonas thundered in a second goal for the hosts on 58 minute, as the midfielder powered a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
A stunning save from Mitov ensured the scoreline was not extended further when he threw his top hand at a dipping strike to tip over the bar.
And it was United who with the arrival of Joe Neal from the bench for the final 20 minutes of the game laid siege to the Rangers’ 18 yard box. Their creativity for the closing stages of the match probably warranted a goal but Firth was well placed on both occasions that Neal and Knowles found the target as Rangers held out.
CAMBRIDGE UNITED STARTING XI | Mitov, Davies, John, Taft, Trialist, Knowles, Lewis, O’Neil, Hannant, Worman, Ibehre
CAMBRIDGE UNITED XI SECOND HALF | Mitov, Knoyle, Taylor, Darling, Dunk, Norville-Williams, Lambe, Hannant (Knowles, 70 mins), Hoolahan, Trialist, Ibehre (Neal, 70 mins)