Harrison Ashby scored an 87th-minute winner as Newcastle beat Rangers 2-1 in Allan McGregor’s testimonial at Ibrox.
Veteran goalkeeper McGregor, 41, left Rangers this summer after making over 500 appearances and winning 11 major honours across two spells in Glasgow, but his farewell appearance ended in defeat.
Miguel Almiron deservedly opened the scoring for Newcastle in the 16th minute with a composed left-footed finish, before new Rangers signing Sam Lammers equalised against the run of play in the second half following a defensive mix-up between Karl Darlow and Bruno Guimaraes (65).
With both sides changing their entire line-ups throughout the course of the match, the game lacked clear-cut chances until Newcastle substitute Ashby rose highest to reach an Alexander Isak cross late on and give the visitors the win.
Newcastle handed a debut to the impressive Sandro Tonali following the midfielder’s £55m arrival from AC Milan, while Allan Saint-Maximin did not travel as speculation over his future at St James’ Park continues to mount.
But the night itself was about McGregor, who received a standing ovation when he was substituted shortly before half-time and again at the final whistle as he brought his 15-year association with Rangers to an end.
How the teams lined up
Rangers first half: McGregor, Tavernier, Souttar, Davies, Barisic, Lundstram, Jack, Dowell, Cantwell, Lammers, Sima.
Rangers second half: Butland, Tavernier, Souttar, Balogun, Barisic, Lundstram, Jack, Cantwell, Sakala, Lammers, Sima.
All subs: Butland, Balogun, Sakala, Raskin, Hagi, Yilmaz, Wright, Matondo, Rice, Yfeko, Lowry.
Newcastle first half: Karius, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Targett, Longstaff, Anderson, Tonali, Almiron, Lewis, Wilson.
Newcastle second half: Darlow, Manquillo, Schar, Burn, Lewis, Guimaraes, Anderson, Miley, Gordon, Almiron, Isak.
All subs: Isak, Gordon, Miley, Burn, Guimaraes, Manquillo, Darlow, Ashby, A Murphy, Dummett, White.
Howe: Saint-Maximin move looks likely | ‘I don’t want to lose him’
Allan Saint-Maximin was absent for the friendly at Ibrox and, speaking after the game, Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe confirmed the winger is likely to move on this summer.
Saint-Maximin is attracting interest from the Saudi Pro League and it is understood Al Ahli are leading the race for the 26-year-old’s signature.
Howe said: “Allan is in discussions regarding a move to another club. Nothing is confirmed and nothing is done. It is still early stages and that is why he wasn’t here.
“With financial fair play you have to trade, otherwise for us this summer you’re stuck and we couldn’t recruit players the other way.
“Maxi is a top player, we don’t want to lose him, we want to strengthen the group. But sometimes these things happen and we have to accept that and it is early to speak about Maxi in the past tense at Newcastle, but our respect and love for him is the same as the supporters.
“We love him and the supporters love him. Certainly, if he does go it will be a difficult moment for all of us.
“There was a lot of emotion between us. I think Allan, we have mutual respect. When a player has done well for me, which he has, you are grateful.
“We have had conversations together. I respect him immensely. There has been no issue between us and we have had a really healthy relationship from day one. Sometimes these things have to happen for the club to grow and Allan to experience something different.
“We could make a stance not to sell Maxi, but financial fair play forces that to a degree. We could be in a position where we couldn’t recruit Sandro Tonali or any other player.”
Newcastle value Saint-Maximin at around £40m and his potential exit will accelerate a move for Leicester’s Harvey Barnes, who is available for £40m.
The Magpies fly to the USA on Wednesday, but Saint-Maximin will remain at home, while midfielder Joelinton’s trip will be delayed.
On the Brazil international, Howe said: “There was a late complication. Joe had to go to London [on Tuesday] and we hope he can join us in America within a couple of days.”
How did Tonali perform for Newcastle?
Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom:
“Sandro Tonali put in an impressive showing on his Newcastle debut, even if he did only feature for 45 minutes.
“The 23-year-old, who was signed from AC Milan for £55m earlier this month, started brightly on the right-hand side of Newcastle’s midfield three and looked confident and strong in possession.
“He was heavily involved in Miguel Almiron’s opening goal with a crisp pass to Elliot Anderson and appears to have the physical attributes to adapt quickly to Premier League football.
“The Italy international was composed and aggressive at the right times at both ends of the pitch. He was replaced at half-time but the early signs suggest he will be a fine addition to Newcastle’s midfield as they prepare for a demanding season in England and abroad.”
Beale: Rangers admire Danilo and Cifuentes
Rangers boss Michael Beale also addressed transfer speculation after the match, in particular, the club’s interest in Feyenoord forward Danilo and Los Angeles FC midfielder Jose Cifuentes.
Asked specifically about those potential arrivals, Beale said: “Danilo is a player that we like, I think a lot of people like.
“He’s not the only forward we are talking to, but he’s the one that’s out there.
“Cifuentes is again a player we like and we hope that’s one that can be moved on.
“I think we need to bring in one more midfielder. He’s powerful, he works the corridor, he can play deep or he can play as an eight.”
Asked if he hoped players would be in before their first league game against Kilmarnock on August 5 – live on Sky Sports – Beale said: “Yes, definitely.
“You can see we did a lot of our work early. The boys have only been back two weeks and tonight was our first game in front of the public.
“I won’t put a number on how many will come in, the market is moving quite quickly.
“We have real set targets and we’ve managed to get some done. I am really pleased with the work we have done.
“We will see some outs in the coming days as well. We are ahead of schedule.”.
On that note, Beale was also asked about midfielder Glen Kamara, who has been linked with Leeds.
He said: “There have been quite a few enquiries for Glen. We gave him an extended break due to his international stuff in the summer and unfortunately, he has been ill for the last few days.
“He didn’t come to Germany with us, but he’s due to return to training in the coming days. That will be ongoing, the speculation.”
On Scott Wright, linked with a move to Turkey, the former QPR boss said: “Scotty this summer has had one or two enquiries. He’s at an age where he wants to go and play regularly.
“I can’t guarantee that – he’ll have to fight for his minutes like everyone else here.
“I’m not willing to guarantee anyone that they’re going to play and I think he’s at an age where he’s good enough to play and he probably feels that he’s spent a lot of time here trying to get into the team.
“We’re off on Wednesday which gives him a chance to speak to one or two people and maybe make some decisions for himself. But there’s nothing guaranteed on that one.”
Rangers’ pre-season schedule
- July 7: Rangers 0-0 Livingston
- July 14: Hallescher 0-2 Rangers
- July 18: Rangers 1-2 Newcastle
- July 22: Rangers vs Hamburger, kick-off 3pm (Ibrox)
- July 26: Rangers vs Olympiakos, kick-off 7.45pm (Ibrox)
- July 29: Hoffenheim vs Rangers, kick-off 2.30pm (Rhein-Neckar-Arena)
Newcastle’s pre-season schedule
- July 15: Gateshead 2-3 Newcastle
- July 18: Rangers 1-2 Newcastle
- July 24: Newcastle vs Aston Villa, kick-off 12am (Lincoln Financial Field, USA)
- July 27: Chelsea vs Newcastle, kick-off 1.15am (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, USA)
- July 29: Brighton vs Newcastle, kick-off 12.30am (Red Bull Arena, USA)
- August 5: Newcastle vs Fiorentina, kick-off 3.30pm (St James’ Park)
- August 6: Newcastle vs Villarreal, kick-off 4pm (St James’ Park)
Who will be on the move this summer ahead of the transfer window closing at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?
Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.