GIVEN the fact their manager was last seen remonstrating with travelling supporters from a bush in Luxembourg, it seemed almost cruel to issue Rangers fans with a reminder of one of the high watermarks in the club’s recent history. Twenty five years ago these two teams were doing battle at the business end of the first-ever Champions League season - the French outfit took the title, even if Bernard Tapie’s running of the club during that era was a murky old business - but the best both can ask for right now is recapturing some of their former glories.

While Rangers have permitted Pedro Caixinha to rip up Mark Warburton’s side and sanctioned a fresh transfer outlay in the region of £8m- £9m, it is seven years since Marseille last won the Ligue 1 title. After finishes of 13th and fifth, new American owner Frank McCourt has made it his mission to compete with the likes of PSG and Monaco for titles again. After the £25m arrival of West Ham’s Dmitri Payet in January, another £45m has been splurged on players like Florian Thauvin, Luiz Gustavo and Adil Rami. Rangers might not be, but they will be in Europa League action against Oostende on Thursday at the Stade Velodrome, the curves of which were being graced yesterday by Chris Froome and co for the the start and finish of Tour de France’s individual time trial.

A less than half full Ibrox told its own story ahead of this friendly which had been hastily arranged after the shock Europa League exit to Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg, but the morale boost which Rangers fans badly needed was duly delivered courtesy of an equaliser with 15-minutes to go via a sweetly-taken right-foot free-kick from Niko Kranjcar. It was all the Croat’s own work, being brought down by Luis Gustavo but dusting himself down to place an effort which Steve Mandanda could only help into the top corner.

Further good news for Rangers fans came in their first sighting of Bruno Alves, the warlike Portuguese defender who missed the Luxembourg calamity as he was with Portugal in the Confederations Cup in Russia. His manager obviously took the decision to ease him into action here, because so unruffled had he been in marshalling the Rangers backline against all this multi million pound talent that he had hardly broken sweat. Living up to his billing as a good organiser, strong in the tackle and a good passer from the back, he received a rapturous ovation when he left the fray on 56 minutes.

The only problem was that it seemed like an unnecessary disruption to the backline and so it proved. Six minutes after his withdrawal, Maxime Lopez was threading a pass through to Morgan Sanson, the midfielder making a run which no-one tracked. His first time cross was perfect for Valere Germain,who found a yard away from substitute Danny Wilson. Hence further pressure on Pedro - at least if it wasn’t for the intervention of Kranjcar.

This was, of course, only a friendly. And in the most part, this was a fairly enigmatic performance from the visitors. With a camp at Bisham Abbey, and the semblance of partnerships forming in this Rangers side, with Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace showing good understanding down the left.

Within minutes of kick-off, another man making his debut, Graham Dorrans, had attempted to atone for a poor early touch with a crude lunge on Patrice Evra which earned him a booking and forced the Frenchman off, the former Manchester United man receiving an ovation from the home support as he trudged off. Perhaps the early mis-hap persuaded both sides to play within themselves here, but there was still enough for fans to get their teeth into. Wes Foderingham saved well from Lopez and substitute Lucas Ocampos while Rangers sub Alfredo Morelos could have been a hero but sent a finish inches wide.