Scottish Premiership
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Aberdeen 0-1 Rangers: Steven Gerrard says win is 'a marker' for season

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Highlights: Aberdeen 0-1 Rangers

Steven Gerrard believes his Rangers side laid down "a marker" as they got the Scottish Premiership season under way with a comfortable win in Aberdeen.

The manager suggested "everyone was saying" they might drop points because of intense rivalry between the sides.

But, until defender Andrew Considine was sent off late on, there was little bite from a home side, who succumbed meekly to Ryan Kent's first-half goal.

"We have to build on this, but no-one is getting carried away," Gerrard said.

"All eyes were on us in the first game, so we'll go away pleased at picking up three points and getting a clean sheet."

Without displaying the intensity of a side desperate to prevent Celtic securing a 10th consecutive league title, the victory was thoroughly deserved given their almost total control of the first period.

Lille's interest in Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos dominated the pre-match talk, but it was the absence of Aberdeen's Sam Cosgrove and and Curtis Main that was most significant in the early stages.

Young stand-in Bruce Anderson was superbly marshalled by a central defence into which Leon Balogun - described by Gerrard as "outstanding" - slotted imperiously.

For all their possession, Rangers rarely threatened until a clever chest flick from Ianis Hagi found Morelos on the half-way line and the striker slipped it through for Kent to direct past Joe Lewis.

It took the home side 28 minutes to force Allan McGregor into an easy save from Funso Ojo, before Considine's straight-leg challenge on Scott Arfield damaged their chances further.

Gerrard's visitors had done enough and it took a fine goal-line clearance from Ash Taylor to prevent Joe Aribo extending the lead in the closing minutes.

Man of the match - Joe Aribo

Rangers' Joe Aribo shoots for goal
Aribo continued where he left off in pre-season, impressing with his touch and footwork in Rangers' midfield

What did we learn?

Could the Premiership be mirroring the re-start experience in England, where the Covid-19 enforced absence of fans appeared to favour away sides?

Certainly, Aberdeen lacked that extra spark of menace required to trouble the visitors until Leeds United loanee Ryan Edmondson came on. The 19-year-old appears to have the physical presence required to compensate for the absence of Cosgrove.

Gerrard and his players have bemoaned last season's tendency to fade after impressive starts to matches and the Rangers manager's concern could continue despite this victory.

On the plus side, former Wigan Athletic centre-half Balogun looks like a shrewd acquisition. On the down side, Morelos rarely looked like preventing his run of competitive games without scoring being extended to eight.

What did they say?

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Aberdeen didn't show enough quality - McInnes

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "Rangers controlled the game early on, but I thought we finished the first half better, got closer to them, got our distances better for pressing and, in the second half, it felt like a game.

"I thought the level of performance was decent, in the second half in particular, and we just needed to work the goalkeeper more."

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: "I thought, in the main, Alfredo did a good job for us. He dropped in, overloaded the midfield area for us and listened to instructions.

"But we want him fitter and sharper. He had a couple of chances that, with more game time, he might have got on the end of and killed the game off for us.

"We can't go much longer with just one fit forward. I want one in yesterday."

What's next?

Aberdeen head to Perth to take on St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park next Saturday and Rangers host St Mirren a day later. But, before that, Gerrard's side will look to overcome a 3-1 Europa League last-16 deficit against Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday in Germany.

Fans
Some found a novel way to watch the match at Pittodrie

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 22Hernández
  • 14Taylor
  • 5McKenna
  • 4ConsidineBooked at 86mins
  • 17Hayes
  • 19Ferguson
  • 8OjoBooked at 45minsSubstituted forHedgesat 78'minutes
  • 33KennedySubstituted forMcGinnat 70'minutes
  • 7BrysonSubstituted forCampbellat 70'minutes
  • 21AndersonSubstituted forEdmondsonat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Logan
  • 3Hoban
  • 10McGinn
  • 11Hedges
  • 15McGeouch
  • 18McLennan
  • 20Cerny
  • 24Campbell
  • 32Edmondson

Rangers

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 26Balogun
  • 31Barisic
  • 18Kamara
  • 8Jack
  • 17Aribo
  • 7HagiSubstituted forArfieldat 77'minutes
  • 20Morelos
  • 14Kent

Substitutes

  • 3Bassey
  • 4Edmundson
  • 5Helander
  • 15Murphy
  • 16Patterson
  • 21Barker
  • 24Stewart
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield
Referee:
Bobby Madden

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home4
Away15
Shots on Target
Home0
Away4
Corners
Home2
Away6
Fouls
Home18
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aberdeen 0, Rangers 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aberdeen 0, Rangers 1.

  3. Post update

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

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Edmondson (Aberdeen).

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Glen Kamara (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Alfredo Morelos.

  6. Post update

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

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Joe Aribo (Rangers) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Arfield.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

  9. Post update

    Dean Campbell (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

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

  11. Post update

    Foul by Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen).

  12. Dismissal

    Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) is shown the red card.

  13. Post update

    Scott Arfield (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

  15. Post update

    Offside, Rangers. Alfredo Morelos tries a through ball, but Ryan Kent is caught offside.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Ronald Hernández.

  17. Post update

    Offside, Aberdeen. Niall McGinn tries a through ball, but Ryan Hedges is caught offside.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Hedges.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Alfredo Morelos (Rangers).

  20. Post update

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

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hibernian11002113
2Rangers11001013
3St Mirren11001013
4Dundee Utd10101101
5St Johnstone10101101
6Celtic00000000
7Hamilton00000000
8Motherwell00000000
9Ross County00000000
10Kilmarnock100112-10
11Aberdeen100101-10
12Livingston100101-10
View full Scottish Premiership table

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