THE defeat to Ventura County Fusion on Tuesday night wasn't exactly the start to their time in America that Rangers were hoping for.

But I hope the fans aren't paying too much attention to the result and getting too worked up at this stage.

Yes, it is never nice to lose and it doesn't look good to get beaten by a team that a lot of people would never have heard of before this week.

But these games mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, they are only played for fitness and sharpness.

Having said that, I would hope that this defeat is the warning for the players.

Too often last season they slacked off and made it hard for themselves so I don't think it is a bad thing for them to get a shock to the system early on in the pre-season.

The manager would have went through them and told them that that level of performance won't be accepted.

They will have to play a whole lot better, defend better, pass the ball better and take their chances if they are to win the Championship.

Ally has a big squad at his disposal now and if the ones he picks aren't doing the business, they will be out the team and someone else will come in to their place.

There is a lot of competition for places at Ibrox this season and everyone will have to be at their best or they will find themselves out of the team and could have to wait a while to get back in again.

Ally said he was disappointed with the manner of the defeat, and obviously the result, and he would have let the players know, in no uncertain terms, that they will have to up their game considerably.

People will look at the result and starting criticising, but it means absolutely nothing.

The only result that matters is the game against Hibs on August 5, that is when the players have to be ready for and have to start winning.

I have been through pre-seasons where we haven't beaten lower league teams, but it wasn't a huge worry.

We used to go to Sweden and not win games, but everyone realised that it was just about getting your fitness.

If you win all your friendly games and then lose your first few competitive games, then what is the point?

Big Jock Wallace always used to say that you are better getting the warning signs just now than when the season starts. As long as we got it right for the first day of the season, he was happy. We knew results in pre-season didn't matter.

Rangers have got two or three weeks to get everything sorted out and get all the slackness and mistakes out of their system before the competitive games start next month.

Ally will be demanding a huge improvement in the game against Sacramento this weekend and the games in Canada.

In the final friendly against Derby, I would imagine he would play the team he wants to face Hibs in the cup.

THE Derby game is when we will get a proper look at the team and how Ally is going to play this season.

He got a bit of stick for playing 5-4-1 against Fusion and that was a load of absolute nonsense. It was three centre- backs and he wanted the two full-backs to push further up the park and attack.

The fact that they had never played that way before is no excuse, but to say that he went five at the back and went defensive is rubbish.

That is coming from people that don't know the game.

He is trying different things and it is in pre-season games where you do that.

There is no point going into the Hibs game and using a formation that you have never played before.

The pre-season games are when you try out different players and formations, and give players a chance to get fitter and sharper.

There is still plenty of time before the season starts and Ally will know what needs to be done to put things right.

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