Newcastle went down 2-1 to Rangers at Ibrox this afternoon, and although it was a poor result, the performance was fairly decent.
Newcastle kept the ball well in stretches of the game, but the Magpies lacked any penetration in the final third of the pitch, and hardly looked like they had any cutting edge up front.
So those fans who want another striker and a midfield play-maker could well be what Chris Hughton tries to get in over the next three weeks, while the transfer market is still open.
Rangers went ahead after just 24 minutes, against the run of play, as Whittaker put in a terrific cross from the left wing, and it was Kenny Miller who powerfully headed the ball past Newcastle goalkeeper, Steve Harper, from just six yards.
And 12 minutes later Whittaker again was in the middle of the action, but this time he saved a goal with a great last ditch tackle on Andy Carroll, just as the 6’4″ striker was about to shoot.
A minute later Miller again had the ball in the net for Rangers, but it was ruled offside.
The interval came with Rangers still ahead 1-0.
Shola Ameobi came on at the interval for Andy Carroll, and just 10 minutes later Ryan Taylor replaced Jose Enrique at left back, which was a surprise change by Newcastle manager Chris Hughton.
After 65 minutes Rangers went further ahead, as Steven Davis played in former Kilmarnock player Steven Naismith, and he fired right through the legs of Steve Harper – and it was a pity the veteran Newcastle goalkeeper couldn’t block the shot.
The crowd was announced as 30,220 which was quite an impressive turn out at Ibrox, and after 70 minutes former Rangers striker Peter Lovenkrands was introduced in place of Argentine Jonas Gutierrez, and he got a great reception from the appreciative Rangers fans.
And would you believe it – Peter scored within a minutes of coming on – and with his very first touch, he put the ball in the net.
You cannot make this stuff up.
Kevin Nolan’s shot was only blocked by goalkeeper McGregor, and the Danish striker again showed what an instinctive striker he is, as he coolly put the ball into the back of the net.
2-1 and could Newcastle again come back from being two goals down?
A minute later it was almost 2-2 as Ameobi moved down the left and shot, and the goalkeeper could again only block the shot, and the ball went to Guthrie.
The former Liverpool youngster squared it to Lovenkrands, and the Danish striker couldn’t quite put the ball home, with the angle being too acute.
On 81 minutes Newcastle brought on two 19 year-olds – Irishman Shane Ferguson and James Tavernier for James Perch and Fabricio Coloccini.
But Newcastle couldn’t pull that goal back and lost their second pre-season game.
This defeat will provide ammunition for the doom and gloomers, no doubt, but the football Newcastle played was more than decent, but without enough penetration up front.
We still could get a result at Old Trafford a week come Monday night, as we remain forever hopeful.
Howay The Lads!!
Rangers: Allan McGregor, David Weir, Kirk Broadfoot, Sasa Papac (Gregg Wylde 63), Lee McCulloch, Marice Edu, Steven Davis, Kenny Miller (Kyle Lafferty 63), Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker, Madjid Bougherra.Subs: Neil Alexander, Andrius Velicka, Jordan McMillan, Andrew Little, Andrew Shinnie, Kyle Hutton, Archie Campell.
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, James Perch (Shane Ferguson 81), Jose Enrique (Ryan Taylor 55), Fabricio Coloccini (James Tavernier 81), Mike Williamson, Wayne Routledge (Xisco 82), Danny Guthrie, Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez (Peter Lovenkrands 69), Andy Carroll (Shola Ameobi 46).
Sub not used: Tim Krul.