Fears for Rooney cast a shadow over Everton win

Rangers 2 Everton 3
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The Independent Online

Imitation came at a costly price for Wayne Rooney yesterday. The resemblance to Paul Gascoigne was chillingly accurate at Ibrox, right down to the stretcher.

Everton's teenage prodigy sported his newly-acquired shaven head at Gazza's alma mater but was carried from the pitch after just 35 minutes of this friendly in a manner that will fray Sven Goran Eriksson's nerves just as much as previous England managers once worried over Gascoigne's health.

Rooney's stricken pose after a crude tackle from the Rangers defender Robert Malcolm suggested that he will be unlikely to play in the friendly against Croatia on 20 August at Portman Road. The player has been sent to hospital for an x-ray on his ankle. His club manager, David Moyes, must also be regretting this preparatory trip to his native Scotland.

Alex McLeish's team displayed the hunger that won them the Scottish treble last season and have an even earlier start to the campaign looming, as well as a Champions' League qualifying round appointment, so the tackles were biting.

Rooney was singled out by the home crowd for jeering - because of a perceived Celtic connection - that almost exceeded that for Alan Stubbs, who actually did play in green and white. The former Parkhead player enjoyed the last laugh, as he decided the contest with the final kick of the ball after Scott Gemmill and David Unsworth's free-kick routine set up Stubbs, whose wickedly deflected shot flew past Stefan Klos.

The raucous 3,000 support from Merseyside taunted their rivals from the ground with chants of "Celtic", but beneath the smiles they - like Eriksson - will be consumed about Rooney's health.

Though Everton's early play was crisper, it was Rangers who broke the deadlock after 20 minutes when Steven Thompson rose above David Weir to meet a cross from the left wing by Neil McCann and thump a header past Simonsen.

However, Everton equalised in the 64th minute with an unwitting contribution from a former Goodison favourite. Michael Ball brought down Thomas Radzinski and Unsworth sent Stefan Klos the wrong way with the penalty.

The substitute Li Tie put Everton in front with just 12 minutes left, as the Chinese midfielder's fierce right-foot shot found the roof of the net, after a deft flick from Niclas Andersson, but Michael Mols cancelled that out within two minutes after Simonsen failed to hold on to the ball.

There was still time for Duncan Ferguson to play a cameo role but it was Stubbs, not the former Rangers icon, who stole the show.

Rangers 2
Thompson 21, Mols 81

Everton 3
Unsworth pen 65, Li 79, Stubbs 90

Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 28,000

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