Scottish League Cup - Semi-final
Aberdeen1Rangers0

Aberdeen 1-0 Rangers: Ferguson header sets up final with Celtic

Lewis Ferguson scores
Lewis Ferguson rose highest to give Aberdeen a crucial advantage

Lewis Ferguson's late header inflicted Rangers' fifth consecutive semi-final defeat and booked Aberdeen a Scottish League Cup final date with Celtic.

Ferguson, the nephew of former Rangers captain Barry, rose to meet Niall McGinn's corner with 11 minutes left.

Rangers dominated for large spells at Hampden but their final ball and finishing let them down badly.

Steven Gerrard's side applied more pressure as time ran out but they could not find an equaliser.

For all their chances, the Ibrox side had just one shot on target.

The final, on 2 December, will be 2014 winners Aberdeen's fourth under Derek McInnes - a third in the League Cup - and will be against the side who beat the Dons in both domestic cup finals in 2016-17.

'A dramatic & liberating moment'

In the opening 14 minutes, Aberdeen had a couple of moments that suggested that a big performance was on its way, both of them coming from McGinn. The first was a free-kick, tipped away by Allan McGregor. The second was a shot in the penalty box that should have tested McGregor to the maximum rather than flying over his crossbar.

The concerns among their supporters that Aberdeen do not deliver often enough in the big games would have come back in waves for large parts of the evening until Ferguson changed it all with the dramatic and liberating moment.

It was not that Rangers were creating golden chance after golden chance before Aberdeen scored, but they controlled the ball for large parts and pegged Aberdeen back. The problem was a singular failure to execute.

Without much threat up front in the absence of the suspended Alfredo Morelos and cup-tied Kyle Lafferty, Steven Gerrard brought in Umar Sadiq for his first start and he did reasonably well until getting booked late on for diving in an effort to win a penalty.

Rangers' problem - and it would be the breaking of them in the end - was that they could not summon the accuracy to get themselves ahead.

'Lacking football, but not incident'

Amid the maelstrom, there was a deeply worrying moment when Aberdeen's Andrew Considine took an accidental blow to the head from Lassana Coulibaly. It took the medics six or seven minutes to tend to the defender and get him off the field on a stretcher. Later, thankfully, there was encouraging news of Considine's condition in hospital.

This semi-final was without much cutting edge football, but it was not short of incident. McGregor took out Gary Mackay-Steven and was fortunate to avoid a booking. Then Rangers appealed loudly for a penalty, but referee John Beaton called it right - Graeme Shinnie's tackle on Ryan Kent was good.

Rangers created some chances. Kent lashed one over. James Tavernier forced a save from Joe Lewis. Coulibaly touched one just wide from a corner. Kent, again, had an attempt deflected wide.

Aberdeen celebrate
'Aberdeen's celebrations were loud and lusty... and will likely carry on for a while'

We were now in the 79th minute. McInnes had brought off Scott Wright - he could have removed the ineffective James Wilson just as easily - and sent Stevie May into the action. The Dons had a corner which McGinn swung in. There to meet it ahead of all others was Ferguson who nutted it past McGregor and then wheeled away like a man who had just won the lottery which, in a sense, he just had.

It was a stunning moment. Against the run of play, yes. Not that it mattered to Aberdeen. They were outnumbered in the stands - 'Outnumbered but never outfought' said one of their banners pre-match - but their celebrations were loud and lusty and they will carry on awhile.

Rangers tried to rescue it, but they never really threatened Lewis in goal. Gerrard watched on, possibly wondering what might have been had Morelos not got himself banned. They felt his loss.

McInnes, meanwhile, basked in the relief and joy of taking down an opponent that they had found hugely difficult to beat in recent times.

Another final beckons for his team. Next time, the full Aberdeen army will descend on Hampden. Of that, you can be sure.

'Gritty performance' wins day - analysis

Former Aberdeen captain and manager Willie Miller on BBC Sportsound

There's many ways of winning games, but you don't want to win like that - backs to the wall. If you can do it with a bit of flair, if you can do it with domination then that's the way you prefer to do it.

They showed a lot of courage, determination, they dug in, they took everything Rangers had to throw at them.

Aberdeen go through to the final not on the back of a magnificent performance but on the back of a gritty performance, on the back of the manager making some changes up front that worked for him, on the back of taking the one chance that they probably had.

Rangers didn't defend the corner. A midfield player gets up and sticks it into the back of the net so they've got what they deserved. They've dominated the game, they've got into good areas, they haven't taken advantage of their play and then they've been hurt with the sucker punch at the other end.

Aberdeen deserve it. They're delighted. They're into a cup final and that's all that matters. The performance is forgotten about already.

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 1LewisBooked at 90mins
  • 2Logan
  • 18Devlin
  • 5McKennaBooked at 54mins
  • 4ConsidineSubstituted forLoweat 36'minutes
  • 19FergusonBooked at 45mins
  • 3ShinnieBooked at 3mins
  • 10McGinn
  • 15WrightSubstituted forMayat 60'minutes
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 9WilsonSubstituted forBallat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Gleeson
  • 16Cosgrove
  • 17May
  • 20Cerny
  • 21Ball
  • 27McLennan
  • 29Lowe

Rangers

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 3Worrall
  • 15Flanagan
  • 23Coulibaly
  • 8JackSubstituted forMiddletonat 82'minutes
  • 10EjariaBooked at 2mins
  • 21CandeiasSubstituted forArfieldat 82'minutes
  • 9SadiqBooked at 83mins
  • 14Kent

Substitutes

  • 13Foderingham
  • 16Halliday
  • 18Rossiter
  • 19Katic
  • 35Grezda
  • 37Arfield
  • 40Middleton
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
46,186

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home4
Away15
Shots on Target
Home2
Away1
Corners
Home4
Away6
Fouls
Home13
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 1, Rangers 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 1, Rangers 0.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Shaleum Logan.

Booking

Joe Lewis (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Dominic Ball replaces James Wilson.

Foul by Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen).

Glenn Middleton (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Max Lowe (Aberdeen).

Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Booking

Umar Sadiq (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Glenn Middleton replaces Ryan Jack.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Scott Arfield replaces Daniel Candeias.

Foul by Max Lowe (Aberdeen).

James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Goal!

Goal! Aberdeen 1, Rangers 0. Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) header from very close range to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Niall McGinn with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Ryan Jack.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

Attempt blocked. Ryan Kent (Rangers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Joe Worrall (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Max Lowe.

Foul by Stevie May (Aberdeen).

Connor Goldson (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

James Wilson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Lassana Coulibaly (Rangers).

Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lassana Coulibaly (Rangers).

Attempt blocked. Daniel Candeias (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Max Lowe.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Stevie May replaces Scott Wright.

Attempt missed. Lassana Coulibaly (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Scott McKenna.

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jon Flanagan (Rangers).

Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Booking

Scott McKenna (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Scott McKenna (Aberdeen).

Connor Goldson (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Ryan Kent (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

goal