Rangers warm up for Celtic with Linfield thrashing

Rangers warm-up for next weekend's Old Firm game against Celtic with a 7-0 win over Linfield.

Kenny Miller scored four as Rangers warmed up for next week’s Old Firm derby against Celtic with a comfortable 7-0 victory in a friendly against Linfield at Windsor Park.

Mark Warburton's side took the opportunity to get a run-out during the international break on the visit to Belfast for Jamie Mulgrew's testimonial match, with a first half hat-trick from Miller setting his side up for an easy win.

Niko Kranjcar and Rob Kiernan added to the Gers' lead after Miller opened the scoring just 11 minutes in before the forward struck twice more before the half-time whistle. Miller added his fourth after the break before Joe Garner rounded off the scoring in the closing stages.

Kenny Miller celebrates during the Rangers win over Linfield
Image: Kenny Miller celebrates during the Rangers win over Linfield

A positive afternoon's work for Warburton and his side came on the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock in the Premiership and before the visit to Celtic Park next Saturday, live on Sky Sports 2 HD.

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There was a first start for new signing Philippe Senderos at the back while Josh Windass and Martyn Waghorn also got game-time after spells on the sidelines.

However, there was cause for concern for the visitors before the opener when Garner was replaced by Michael O'Halloran after appearing to pick up a head knock but he returned to the action in the second half after medical treatment.

Niko Kranjcar was on the scoresheet for Rangers against Linfield
Image: Niko Kranjcar was on the scoresheet for Rangers against Linfield

Rangers opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Miller pounced on a loose ball after former Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll saved a Windass header from close range.

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The away side then hit four goals in seven minutes, with a spectacular 25-yard strike from Kranjcar making it 2-0 after 24 minutes before Kiernan was quickest to react after another Carroll save from Harry Forrester to add to the tally.

Rob Kiernan scores Rangers' third goal of the game against Linfield
Image: Rob Kiernan scores Rangers' third goal of the game against Linfield

Two minutes later Miller got his second after being sent through by substitute O'Halloran and rounding Carroll to make it 4-0. The striker completed the scoring in the opening period just after the half hour mark when an O'Halloran cross broke to Miller who smashed the ball into the net.

The former Scotland forward, who was Rangers captain for the day in the absence of the injured Lee Wallace, got his fourth and final goal of the afternoon eight minutes into the second half after being set up by O'Halloran again.

Rangers were in Belfast for Jamie Mulgrew's testimonial
Image: Rangers were in Belfast for Jamie Mulgrew's testimonial

Shortly after that Garner returned to the action along with Waghorn who has not featured since picking up a hamstring injury on the opening day of the season.

Rangers rounded off the scoring with six minutes remaining when Garner got on the end of another assist from O'Halloran after a quick breakaway.

Miller scores his fourth and Rangers' sixth goal of the game against Linfield
Image: Miller scores his fourth and Rangers' sixth goal of the game against Linfield

After the match Warburton confirmed that Waghorn was on course to face Celtic next Saturday after getting half an hour off the bench in Belfast.

"He will join us for a full week of training so he'll be involved in some capacity in the 18 to face Celtic. It's good to welcome Waggy back, he has a great goalscoring record and so much more that he brings to the team," he told Rangers TV.

Rangers' Joe Garner scores his side's seventh goal
Image: Rangers' Joe Garner scores his side's seventh goal

"But it's about using the squad and having complete faith and belief in the squad, which we do, and having options to choose from."

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