DEAN SHIELS insists Rangers' stint Stateside has proven worthwhile so far despite the Light Blues shock friendly defeat this week.

Boss Ally McCoist has been putting his squad through their paces in California as he looks to get the 3-1 loss to Ventura County Fusion out of their system as quickly as possible.

A clash with Sacramento Republic tonight is next on the Gers' agenda before they jet to Canada for two more friendly fixtures.

The clock is ticking to the champions' first competitive game of the season against Hibernian on August 5.

But Shiels is confident McCoist's side are on the right track as they continue their preparations for the big kick-off.

"Coming away here has been great," he told "There's a good collectiveness about the group and all of the lads will benefit from getting together.

"We worked really hard before we came away on the trip and we have kept that going so far, so when we arrive home I think we'll be just about ready.

"In pre-season, you get your first fitness in the first couple of weeks and then you start to apply methods of play.

"You start looking at how you want to set up and do things properly so that when the season comes you are ready for it and we are beginning to do that.

"We need to be good to go when that first game comes against Hibernian and we're now looking to play well and become a bit more tactical."