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Match Preview | Aberdeen v Rangers
Competition: cinch Scottish Premiership
Match: Aberdeen v Rangers
Kick Off: 19:45
TV Coverage: RedTV International, Virtual Season Ticket & Sky Sports Football. Audio Commentary is available to RedTV UK subscribers. Please note that there is no PPV available for this match as it is live on Sky Sports.
The manager sat down with the media, via Zoom, to preview our return to action against Rangers. To watch in full on RedTV, please click here.
“It has been a long time since I have bee at an Aberdeen v Rangers game and it has been a long time since there has been fans at one up here. I am sure everyone is looking forward to it from both sides. There was a bit of a clamour for the game to be on at the end of last month with people hoping it was going to happen. I think everybody is delighted that it is going to happen with fans in the stadium now. We are all looking forward to it.
“Anytime that Rangers come to Aberdeen it is a big game and it is one that we are looking forward to. Both groups will come in rested and well planned for the game. I am looking forward to what should be a good game against a good team.
“Matty Kennedy is the only one of the longer term in juries who will be available and he comes back into the squad, we can name 20 in the squad now as well which helps.
“Marley has not made it and he will be out for another few weeks. It is unfortunate for us but it gives someone else another opportunity. We have got a good squad to look forward to the game with.
“We have got irons in the fire, we are always looking to strengthen. At the minute we have got nothing in terms of our players that are going to be leaving and we would like to keep the squad intact as it is, we have got a very good squad. If it stays like that until the end of the season then we will be happy. We are in control of the whole situation which is good for us. We are just focusing on tomorrow’s game. The couple of weeks where we have not had any games and only the window to focus on has now gone, it means that we can focus on some games and that is what our number one priority is.
“It is my first experience of the January window. It has been busy, there have been phone calls all of the time, you are preparing for what might happen. If nothing happens that is of the liking of us then nothing will happen. We are in control of the situation and we have got a brilliant squad. If we need to fix things later on in the month, we will fix it. If we don’t then we will challenge the second half of the season with a really strong squad. It is what we are looking forward to. January is not the most enjoyable, if we can get some wins while all of this is going on it will make it more enjoyable for us.
“The players know the situation, their agents and their families keep them right as well. If I see bits and pieces in training I need to handle I will. For a player if the worst thing that happens to you is staying at Aberdeen then you are doing okay. Our players are in a good situation, a lot of people like our players, we like them here and if nothing happens then we are going to have right good squad until the summer. If things move we will fix it and strengthen when we can.
“Everybody we are looking at, we want players who want to come and play for Aberdeen. See the profile that we can give them, see what the club offers and see a game like tomorrow night and think ‘I want to be apart of it.’ There is a pressure to being an Aberdeen player that is not for everybody, we will get the right people in who will help us.
Upcoming Run of Fixtures
“If you get too far ahead of yourself and you start trying to earmark where there might be points and trying to plan and trying to get clever, I don’t think that it works. It is important that we tackle each game in isolation that is coming up. The players need the games as well, the way that they have been training, I can sense it in them that they need the bite of the game and the matchday coming up. They have got it coming tomorrow night and on Saturday as well. They start to come thick and fast, it is important that you are on a good run of form when that happens because it certainly feels a lot better.
“You will see two teams that are desperate to win, two teams that are desperate not to lose. The mindset of both camps is to go in and win this game, which makes it a really attractive fixture. The atmosphere will be good, the occasion will be good. It is the first time back in the stadium for a long time and certainly in large numbers as well. It is an occasion we are all looking forward to. I am hoping the game lives up to it and hoping that we come out on the right side.
“They have a strong squad because that is what happens when you spend the sort of money that they do on their squad. If every other team is spending that sort of money then they would have a similar squad, that is what you are up against. There is going to be 11 players in a red jersey that are desperate to win a game and that is all our focus is.
“His work permit is cleared, now it is a case of waiting for the VISA, clearing all the medical stuff and all the other bits and pieces. You are looking at a good few weeks until he is affecting the team. We are not putting pressure on him as he comes and joins us. He is going to need time to develop like a lot of our young players.
“Some of our other young ones have signed contracts, there have been additions there, Connor Barron has come back from Kelty. I think you will see Connor featuring between now and the end of the season in some aspects, there are a lot to look forward to at the club with the young ones coming through. We have got a good squad overall, right across the board.
“Connor is ready to come and challenge for a place. We liked what we saw in the summer, we felt it was the right thing to put him to Kelty, we knew he would get looked after by Kevin Thomson who myself and Scott both played with. We felt it was a good place for him. Myself and Steven Gunn travelled to a game to go and watch him, Neil Simpson has had eyes on him as well and we get reports on him every week. Everything we have seen, we think it is the right time to bring him back and compete for a place here. He is delighted to do it which is he is pretty vocal about. He is another young one that will hopefully impact the team if everything goes to plan.
Increase to Number of Permitted Substitutes
“I think it is a sensible choice by the league, I am in support of it. It gives us scope to add two more players onto the bench, which makes it easier to blood young ones, if the situation is right. For the game in general it is good anyway. For player safety, some of them have been off sick so when they come back they are getting driven a little bit more if you have only got three substitutes. You will see better games, you shouldn’t see teams finishing less than a full compliment, it makes sense.
“There is still competition to get onto the pitch, we are not going to be throwing away appearances for no real reason. Players need to be ready to come in and impact the team. In affect it doesn’t change the competition to get into the team, players who are not deserving of being in the team wont be in it. It will be difficult to get into our team. Nothing changes in that respect I just think for the welfare of the players it is a good thing.
The Red Army Back at Pittodrie
“People already know what we are about. It is a while since Rangers have been beaten up here. It is a continual challenge because it is an expensive squad coming up but it is a challenge that when you are at Aberdeen you know what it means to the Aberdeen supporters to win that game. It is a challenge that we are looking forward to. I am just happy with the players that there is going to be a big crowd. I think it makes the atmosphere better and it has probably impacted the game over the past couple of years. They can drive the Aberdeen players on in this game, it really lets you know what it means when you step onto that pitch in a red shirt.”
AFC Archive | Aberdeen v Rangers 1980
When Aberdeen won the Premier League title in 1980 it was manager Alex Ferguson who pointed to a crucial win over Rangers at Pittodrie that had a significant bearing on the destination of the championship. Read the story in full here.
The Last Time Out
We faced Rangers at Ibrox back in October on a wet Wednesday night in Glasgow. The Dons went into the game having secured a morale boosting victory over Hibs at Pittodrie four days earlier where Christian Ramirez’s strike had separated the two sides. And it was our American striker who broke the deadlock at Ibrox when he headed in a Ryan Hedges chipped cross after good work from Dean Campbell. The away end at Ibrox was in dreamland minutes later when captain Scott Brown met a Dylan McGeouch corner with a thumping diving header to double our advantage. In a frantic opening period, Rangers pulled a goal back when Alfredo Morelos headed beyond Joe Lewis after connecting with a James Tavernier cross. After a busy opening spell, The Dons managed to keep Rangers at bay until the 80th minute when the home side were awarded a controversial penalty after David Bates was deemed to have fouled Fashion Sakala. Tavernier scored the resulting spot kick but that was to be the last of the scoring action as Aberdeen claimed a well deserved point.
Dons Line Up: Lewis, Ojo, Campbell, McCrorie, Brown, Bates, Hayes (Samuels), Ferguson, Ramirez (Watkins), McGeouch, Hedges.
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) January 17, 2022
Match Page - Formation
Match Page - Text Commentary
match report | A tale of two pens as Dons draw
ABERDEEN 1 RANGERS 1
Tuesday January 18th 2022
Referee: Kevin Clancy
The Dons came from behind to earn a point against Rangers, the least they deserved after being the more convincing side for long stretches of the game.
As football returned to Pittodrie after the winter break, Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass made just one change from the side that beat Dundee 2-1 on Boxing Day. Fit again Scott Brown returned to the side in place of the injured Marley Watkins. With the bench now expanded to nine players, in came fit again Dylan McGeouch and Matty Kennedy, along with Connor Barron.
League leaders Rangers beat St Mirren 2-0 at home Boxing Day and they made just one change with new signing James Sands replacing Joe Aribo, currently playing for Nigeria at the African Nations Cup.
Rangers started brightly and Joe Lewis was quickly into the action, reading the game well to come across and snuff out a dangerous run from Wright in the third minute. Hagi was in the book on six minutes for preventing the Dons taking a quick free-kick, a silly caution to pick up so early in the game.
Aberdeen were a fraction away from the lead a minute later, Lewis Ferguson winning the ball and feeding Ryan Hedges who helped the ball on to Teddy Jenks on the edge of the box. He dug out a vicious shot that left McGregor standing and watching like a man at a bus stop as it smacked against the post and went behind.
It was Jenks again on 11 minutes, David Bates playing forward, Funso Ojo producing a deft pass into Jenks’ feet, the Brighton loanee producing a low drive from 25 yards that had McGregor at full stretch to save. The Dons were really on song by now, knocking the ball around with purpose. Ojo was the creator again on 13 minutes, pulling the ball back through the box, Brown coming on it from 20 yards but he put his effort over the bar.
On 20 minutes, real controversy. It came after a raking ball from Hayes had Hedges in on goal. He just beat McGregor to the ball, put it over his head and, as he chased it, he was caught by the goalkeeper, it looked a penalty and a card, yet nothing was given, despite it all happening right in front of the assistant referee.
As the referee waved play on, Rangers burst forward. Wright found Kent who whipped in a great near post cross, Hagi getting between Lewis and Ross McCrorie to poke in. A game changing 30 seconds.
From the kick-off pretty much, a shot from the halfway line from Ferguson had McGregor, who could have been making himself a cup of tea in the dressing room, scrambling backwards, the ball dropping onto the roof of the net, much to his relief.
The Dons started to work their way back int the game and on 36 minutes, a Hayes cross caused chaos, Barisic only just turning it behind. The corner was cleared back out to Ramsay who clubbed a shot over the bar from a tight angle.
Brown was booked, presumably for dissent after Ramsay’s foul on Hagi. Tavernier was next to be carded for a high boot on Ojo. Ojo needed some prolonged treatment a few moments later before continuing. As we headed into injury time, Ojo did well chasing a Hayes ball down the left, but his excellent hooked cross was behind Ramirez and found no takers.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 RANGERS 1
Aberdeen started the second half strongly, a Hayes free-kick into the box knocked down by Ramirez, Brown coming onto it on the volley but blasting over in the opening minute. Brown was a magnet for the ball at this point, getting on the end of a Ramsay corner on 53 minutes, but putting his header over the bar.
The referee had the card out again after McCrorie won the ball from Morelos on halfway on 58 minutes. Rangers made their first change on 64 minutes, Wright making way for Lundstram.
A dangerous run from Kent into the Aberdeen box ended with him kicking the ground and falling over on 65 minutes.
Ferguson exchanged passes with Ramirez, only to be poleaxed by Bassey but again the Dons didn’t get the decision. Connor McLennan then joined the fray in place of Ojo on 68 minutes.
Finally, the Dons did get a break. Hayes’ corner was met by Ferguson’s head, Morelos throwing out a left arm to block it – penalty for the Dons, as the Rangers striker went in the book. Ferguson put the ball on the spot and, on his 150th appearance for the club, sent McGregor the wrong way to tie things up.
Dean Campbell replaced Ramsay in the aftermath of the goal with 17 minutes left to play. Hayes and Kent were booked after a heated exchange on 76 minutes. Sakala then replaced Hagi, his first impact was in being fouled by McLennan who became the eighth booking of the night.
Eight minutes from time, a brilliant save from Lewis kept things level, Morelos hooking a volley at goal, Lewis hurling himself across goal to push the ball to safety.
Kent was for the early bath in the 83rd minute, leaving his foot in on Brown and duly collecting a second yellow.
Looking to run the clock down now, Rangers removed Morelos on 89 minutes, Itten replacing him.
Aberdeen inches away the winner on 90 minutes, Ramirez wide on the right arcing a cross through the six yard box, McLennan stretching desperately for it but unable to get the decisive touch.
Jenks had the final chance of the game, trying to wrap his foot around a Ramirez lay off from a tight angle, putting the ball wide of the target.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Ramsay (Campbell 74), McCrorie, Bates, Hayes, Ojo (McLennan 68), Brown, Ferguson, Jenks, Hedges, Ramirez.
Subs not used: Woods, McGeouch, McGinn, Emmanuel-Thomas, Gallagher, Kennedy, Barron.
GOAL: Ferguson (pen) (73)
BOOKED: Brown, McCrorie, Hayes, McLennan
RANGERS: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic, Hagi (Sakala 78), Kamara, Sands, Wright (Lundstrum 64), Morelos (Itten 89), Kent.
Subs not used: McLaughlin, Simpson, Balogun, King, Bacuna, McCann.
GOAL: Hagi (20)
SENT OFF: Kent
BOOKED: Hagi, Tavernier, Morelos, Kent