Scottish Premiership
AberdeenAberdeen2RangersRangers1

Aberdeen 2-1 Rangers

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland at Pittodrie
James Maddison scores with a fabulous 90th-minute free kick
Maddison scores with a fabulous 90th-minute free kick

James Maddison curled in a wonderful late free-kick as Aberdeen beat Rangers at Pittodrie in their first meeting since January 2012.

The teenager found the top corner from 25 yards to settle a scruffy game punctuated by nine bookings.

Jonny Hayes broke clear of a static Rangers defence at the start of the second half to steer home a low shot.

Hayes then gave away a penalty, converted by Andy Halliday, for impeding a strong Lee Wallace run.

Aberdeen move up to second, four points behind Celtic, while Rangers have gone four league matches without a win and drop into the bottom half.

Rangers in control

The visitors were dominant in the opening half. They were accurate and threatening - all of the things that Aberdeen were not. The Dons were lamentably bad; their midfield was bossed and their use of the ball was dreadful. They were fortunate not to be behind at the break.

They could thank Joe Lewis for that. When Joe Garner's 27th minute shot deflected viciously off Shay Logan it looked like it was going to end up in Aberdeen's net. Lewis did marvellously to adjust his position and claw it away at the last second.

Aberdeen were passive and Rangers were comfortable. The problem for them is that they failed to make their dominance pay. Seven goals from six league games before this one suggests that this is a team that is missing cutting edge.

Hayes strikes

Jonny Hayes shoots low past Wes Foderingham
Hayes shoots Aberdeen ahead

Dons manager Derek McInnes Derek McInnes replaced Peter Pawlett with Maddison at half-time in an effort to address the imbalance in midfield. What an influence he would have later.

Only 20 seconds had gone in the second half before life got a whole lot better for the Dons. A long ball out of defence, a flick-on from Adam Rooney and suddenly Hayes - now playing centre-forward - was away down the left. James Tavernier, a defensive calamity for Rangers, was nowhere to be found. Neither were the Rangers centre-halves.

Hayes galloped on to score and once again shine a light on how vulnerable this Rangers defence can be.

Rangers fight back

Andy Halliday scores from the penalty spot
Halliday scores from the penalty spot

The goal was cruel on Rangers, but they found something in adversity. Hayes was finding all sorts of space - Tavernier was caught upfield time and again - but it was Rangers who scored next. And, bizarrely, it was Aberdeen's most dangerous player who was culpable.

Hayes grabbed a fistful of Wallace's shirt, taking down the visiting captain, and Halliday put away the penalty for a deserved equaliser.

Sting in the tail

With the game in its dying minutes, Aberdeen won a free-kick 25 yards from goal when Tavernier was judged to have brought down Hayes. Later, Rangers manager Mark Warburton railed against the decision, saying that Tavernier had taken the ball in an excellent tackle. McInnes, unsurprisingly, disagreed.

What was beyond argument was the beauty of Maddison's effort. The 19-year-old on loan from Norwich, stood over it and proceeded to launch the most sumptuous strike over the defensive wall and into the net via the inside of Wes Foderingham's left-hand post. Stunning.

For Aberdeen, a hugely important win achieved on a day when they failed to produce anything like their best stuff. It's been a big week for the Dons, who reached the League Cup semi-finals on Thursday with another last-gasp goal.

For Rangers - deep frustration because they deserved more. Nine points from seven games, though, is poor. Warburton has many issues to address.

Line-ups

Aberdeen

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Lewis
  • 2Logan
  • 15O'ConnorBooked at 64mins
  • 6ReynoldsBooked at 53mins
  • 4Considine
  • 11HayesBooked at 79mins
  • 7McLeanBooked at 83mins
  • 3ShinnieBooked at 14mins
  • 10McGinnSubstituted forBurnsat 78'minutes
  • 16PawlettSubstituted forMaddisonat 45'minutes
  • 9RooneySubstituted forTaylorat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Taylor
  • 8Burns
  • 17Stockley
  • 19Storie
  • 23Maddison
  • 25Alexander
  • 39Storey

Rangers

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Foderingham
  • 2TavernierBooked at 90mins
  • 6WilsonBooked at 48mins
  • 3Hill
  • 5Wallace
  • 23Holt
  • 16Halliday
  • 15ForresterSubstituted forKranjcarat 63'minutesBooked at 81mins
  • 33WaghornSubstituted forO'Halloranat 69'minutes
  • 7GarnerBooked at 22minsSubstituted forMillerat 77'minutes
  • 10McKay

Substitutes

  • 9Miller
  • 14Dodoo
  • 17Hodson
  • 19Kranjcar
  • 24Senderos
  • 25Gilks
  • 29O'Halloran
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
19,263

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home41%
Away59%
Shots
Home10
Away11
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home4
Away8
Fouls
Home19
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aberdeen 2, Rangers 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aberdeen 2, Rangers 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Barrie McKay (Rangers).

  4. Post update

    Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Ash Taylor replaces Adam Rooney.

  6. Goal!

    Goal! Aberdeen 2, Rangers 1. James Maddison (Aberdeen) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

  7. Booking

    James Tavernier (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Post update

    Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by James Tavernier (Rangers).

  10. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Shaleum Logan.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Kenny Miller (Rangers).

  12. Post update

    Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Barrie McKay (Rangers).

  14. Post update

    Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Booking

    Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Post update

    Andy Halliday (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Kenny McLean (Aberdeen).

  18. Post update

    Clint Hill (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by James Maddison (Aberdeen).

  20. Post update

    Foul by Barrie McKay (Rangers).