Scottish Cup: Aberdeen v Rangers: -The resurgence of an old rivalry

Scottish Cup: Aberdeen v Rangers
Venue: Pittodrie Date: Sunday, 3 March Kick-off: 13:30 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland, live text commentary on the BBC Sport Scotland website

There has long been spice in matches involving Aberdeen and Rangers and this season's encounters have followed that pattern.

The clubs were often close competitors for trophies in the 1980s and Rangers' return to the top flight in 2016 resumed one of the country's great rivalries.

As the sides prepare to meet for the fifth time already this season, in Sunday's Scottish Cup quarter-final, BBC Scotland takes a look at some of the key talking points from the recent history of the fixture.

Alfredo Morelos v Scott McKenna

Morelos and McKenna were both dismissed when the sides last met
Morelos and McKenna were both dismissed when the sides last met

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos and Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna have become familiar with each other this season.

On the opening day at Pittodrie, Morelos was sent off for an apparent kick on McKenna after the Scotland centre-back appeared to give the Colombian a barge off the ball. The match finished 1-1 and Morelos' red card was rescinded on appeal.

Then in their most recent meeting in the Scottish Premiership - a 4-2 win for Rangers at Pittodrie - both were sent off for kicking out at each other in the second half and got bans for their troubles. They're set to meet again on Sunday.

Ryan Jack moves to Rangers

Jack came through the Aberdeen youth academy and went on to make 250 appearances for the club, becoming captain as they established themselves as the second force in Scottish football.

But in the 2016-17 season it became increasingly clear Jack would not be signing a new contract at Pittodrie. This was confirmed by manager Derek McInnes a week before the Scottish Cup final and, as rumours began to grow about him joining Rangers, he was stripped of the captaincy for the showpiece against Celtic, though he did play almost the full match.

A few days later he was announced as a Rangers player and he cited being a boyhood fan as one of the reasons for joining. It's safe to say he's been a target for Aberdeen fans since, most notably when he was booed at Pittodrie while playing for Scotland in a friendly against Netherlands in 2017.

Aberdeen v Rangers

Derek McInnes doesn't go to Ibrox

After Pedro Caixinha's Ibrox sacking in 2017, Aberdeen boss and former Rangers player McInnes was installed as favourite for the job. What followed was a protracted saga as McInnes, over a period of six weeks, had to address the speculation in nearly every media conference and post-match interview. It culminated with two matches between the sides in a week - both of which Rangers won to leapfrog their rivals into second place.

Soon after Rangers made their move, but their approach to speak to McInnes was refused by Aberdeen. It seemed he was on his way to Ibrox though after showdown talks with his chairman Stewart Milne, only to choose to stay Pittodrie.

Managerial spats

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Calm heads key for Aberdeen against Rangers - Derek McInnes

Before Caixinha's sacking and the McInnes saga the Portuguese manager angered Aberdeen fans by suggesting the team had reached the end of a successful cycle. McInnes responded by saying Caixinha should be "embarrassed" at finishing behind his lesser resourced Aberdeen team.

Recently with Steven Gerrard in charge of Rangers there has been further friction between the two dugouts. Gerrard said Rangers were "a class above" Aberdeen after they dominated the 1-1 draw at Pittodrie on the opening day of the season, despite playing most of the match with 10 men. The former Liverpool captain later clarified he meant his side were a class above during the 90 minutes, rather than in a general sense.

Even after the most recent match between the sides, there were reports McInnes entered the Rangers dressing room to tell them to keep the noise down as they celebrated their 4-2 win.

And Gerrard said after a raucous 90 minutes: "This is a big rivalry, it's a big game, it's a big derby match we have to accept that. When we play Aberdeen it'll happen again, it's the way it is, it's what football's about at the top."

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