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Aberdeen V Rangers | Match Preview

May 7, 2018 7:13 pm Author: Chris Anderson
Aberdeen V Rangers | Match Preview

We preview the final home match of the season against Rangers

This Tuesday sees The Dons take on Rangers in the final home match of the season. A win for Aberdeen would see a return to European football and enter the driving seat to finish in second place for the fourth year running. After Saturday’s goalless draw against Hibernian it makes the match against Rangers even more important and a near-capacity crowd is expected at Pittodrie.

There’s only one point separating the two teams, with Rangers closing the gap after a 1-0 win against Kilmarnock at Ibrox and after the stalemate at Pittodrie it’s all to play for.

Former Dons assistant manager, Jimmy Nicholl oversees Rangers until the end of the season following the departure of Graeme Murty and before the arrival of Steven Gerrard in the summer. The visitors have gained the upper hand in all of the meetings this season winning twice at Ibrox and the match at Pittodrie, but The Dons know that the most important fixture is on Tuesday and a win would seal the European return.

WHAT THE MANAGER SAID

“I think when you get down to the last couple of games the fact you have something to play for is encouraging. There’s no real room for error now with two games to go and I’m rubbing my hands at the fact we’ve got a chance to play Rangers again and hopefully we can win the game. We know by winning the game it’s a huge step forward to what we want to do this season. If we can secure European football with a win tomorrow, it’s brilliant.

“I think we’ve got to make sure we perform individually. As a team we can set up how we want to be and there won’t be too many surprises by the way Rangers play and how we play in terms of formation and the tactical side of it is what it is. I think a lot of these games against the bigger teams or teams around you with plenty good players normally it comes down to those individual performances and that’s what we’re hoping for tomorrow night.

“The time for reflection is always at the end of the season and we’re still looking at the next fixture. When it’s the post-split the games come thick and fast and the nature of the game demands your full attention. Hopefully we can look back as the second-best team in the country through our league form.”

You can read Derek’s full press conference here

WHAT KENNY SAID

Kenny McLean plays his final match at Pittodrie before he rejoins Norwich for next season and spoke to the media on Monday lunchtime.

“I want to go out on a high. I’ve had a good few years here and I want to finish second and getting the right result will go a long way to doing that. That’s massive for the team but it will be great for me as well.

“We have claimed second position the last couple of years, but it’s been tougher this season and to still be there is excellent. People have been going on about other teams in the league and how well they’ve done like Killie and Hibs, but at the end of the day they’re behind us at this moment in time. We need to look after ourselves and as I say it’s in our own hands to finish second and that’s the aim for this team.

“We’ve not turned up against Rangers this season and not done well enough. To still have an opportunity to put that right is excellent and it will be the biggest game of them all, no doubt about it. I think it’s good we’ve had disappointments because we need to put something right and put the record straight.”

You can read Kenny’s full press conference here

THE DONS AT PITTODRIE THIS SEASON

Tuesday will be the 23rd and final home match at Pittodrie as we near the end of another season. Once again it’s been a strong campaign at home for the team as they aim to get an important three points that would see a return to European football. It’s hard to believe the first match at Pittodrie was back in July against Siroki Brijeg in the Europa League and The Dons have made it difficult for their opponents this season, stringing together some important wins. There have been eleven wins in the league, three draws and four defeats. In Europe the draw against Siroki came before the excellent 2-1 win over Apollon Limassol, but The Dons couldn’t complete the job in Cyprus. There were three Scottish Cup games at home this season as St Mirren were seen off 4-1 and Dundee United a month 4-2. Kilmarnock proved a more difficult opponent and Aberdeen had to do it the hard way in the replay in Ayrshire, winning a penalty shootout to advance to the semi-finals. Two of the league defeats have been to Celtic with the others coming to Motherwell and Rangers. Since January however The Dons have only lost the once at Pittodrie in a 2-0 defeat to Celtic and are unbeaten in the other nine. Last time Rangers visited they left with the points after goals from Danny Wilson and Josh Windass. Aberdeen were given a lifeline when Frank Ross curled in a terrific free kick, but the visitors held out for their second victory in a week against The Dons.

The domestic season opened with a comfortable 2-0 win over Hamilton Accies with goals from Anthony O’Connor and the departing Miles Storey. The Dons would go on unbeaten at home until Celtic came in October and The Champions produced arguably their best performance of the season to win 3-0.  That defeat started a difficult period for the team and despite winning the next game against Ross County the team were beaten by Motherwell and Rangers in the next two. After the winter break, The Dons were a rejuvinated side and the defeat to Celtic remains the only blip in an otherwise fruitful home campaign.

Although not as free-flowing as last season, The Dons have still scored four against Hibernian and St Johnstone this season, with the Hibs game showcasing the talents of Gary Mackay-Steven as the winger hit a hatrick in a 4-1 win.

DISPLAY

A reminder to supporters that there will be a display taking place in the Richard Donald Lower before kick off. We encourage all supporters to arrive early as the team arrive out from the tunnel area.

RED TV

If you can’t make the game on Tuesday you can follow all the action on RedTV with audio and video for International Subscribers. Former Dons player Stuart Duff with join Dave and Andrew and post match we will have reaction, interviews and a full match replay.

Thank you for the fantastic support at Pittodrie this season. COYR!

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Aberdeen 1-1 Rangers | McLean finds the net on Pittodrie send-off

May 8, 2018 10:39 pm Author: Aberdeen FC
Aberdeen 1-1 Rangers | McLean finds the net on Pittodrie send-off

Aberdeen shared the points with Rangers in a frantic 1-1 draw between the sides. Kenny McLean’s first-half penalty was cancelled out by Ross McCrorie’s close-range header just after the hour mark. The result means that, all is still to play for in the race for second place going into the final weekend of Scottish Premiership fixtures. 

Derek McInnes made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Hibernian on Saturday. Andrew Considine returned to the starting XI in place of Mark Reynolds who dropped to the bench along with Stevie May. Kenny McLean joined the squad having served his suspension, and Ryan Christie took the place of Niall McGinn who was ruled out through injury.

Gary Mackay-Steven quickly recovered from his knock to retain his starting spot in the final home game for The Dons this season. For the visitors, Rangers caretaker boss Jimmy Nicholl made one change to the side that beat Kilmarnock 1-0 as Ross McCrorie came in for Jason Cummings who dropped to the bench due to illness. 

Both teams had everything to play for with only one point separating the two teams coming into this fixture. The visitors started the game well, Candeias showing early signs of a threat with a 60 yard run down the right-hand side, winning an early corner, which eventually came to nothing. 

Saturday’s man of the match Joe Lewis was called into action earlier than he would’ve liked after just five minutes. The Dons number one stuck out a foot to deny Morelos after a fine Rangers move. 

Rangers made the brighter starts of the two sides but The Dons grew into the game more as their nerves began to settle. Ryan Christie won the first corner for the home side after Bates mis-timed his touch. Christie corner was then deflected out for another on the other side. 

The second was much better. GMS fired in a low ball towards McLean who got to the ball just before Morelos. Referee McLean judged Rangers forward Morelos to be a fraction late and showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Playing for his last time at Pittodrie Kenny McLean assumed penalty taking duty. The Norwich loanee dusted himself down and kept a cool head sending Rangers keeper Jak Alnwick the wrong way to give The Dons the lead. 

The opening goal gave The Dons a real confidence boost and the home side began to take control. David Bates became the first player to go into Steven McLean’s book, cynically taking out Graeme Shinnie as The Dons captain looked to break down the left-hand side. From the resulting free-kick Christie’s ball in was met by Alnwick who punched clear, taking out Andrew Considine in the process. After receiving some lengthy treatment from the medical staff Considine was back on his feet and returned to the action.  

Cosgrove was the first Aberdeen player to go in the book, cautioned for a high elbow. Graham Dorrans was also shown a yellow card for his troubles and excessive complaints. 

The Dons continued to press the Rangers midfield, forcing them into losing possession. Good work down the right-hand side between Logan and Christie saw the creative midfielder get a shot away which was easily saved by Alnwick.

The keeper’s throw out was pinched by Dom Ball just inside the Rangers half. Kenny McLean latched onto the loose ball and unleashed a vicious strike from 35 yards. Alnwick could only watch as the ball dipped over him and cannoned off the underside of the bar and back into play, desperately unlucky for the home side.

Jimmy Nicholl was forced into making a change just after the half-hour mark. Sean Goss came on for Dorrans who failed to recover after being on the receiving end of a hard challenge from Shinnie.

Andy Halliday became the third Rangers player to go into the book for a late challenge on McLean who was popping up in every area of the pitch. 

McLean had another chance to double The Dons advantage with five minutes to go before the break. Cosgrove showed great awareness to nod down Logan’s cross into McLean’s path. However, the midfielder couldn’t quite get a hold of his shot and Alnwick made a comfortable save diving to his right.

Holt joined Halliday, Bates and Dorrans in the book for hacking down Dominic Ball on the halfway line. The challenge was late and certainly warranted a yellow card if not worse. Seconds later Sean Goss somehow escaped McLean’s pocket just before the break for another late challenge, this time on Shinnie. 

This was the last action of a frantic first half which, despite a good opening ten minutes for visitors, was dominated by The Dons, thoroughly deserving of their one-goal lead. 

Half-time: Aberdeen 1-0 Rangers

The second half continued in the same frantic fashion as much of the first, with Aberdeen on the front foot. Rangers grew into the game more as the second half went on enjoying more possession and territory inside the Aberdeen half. 

Morelos had a golden chance to level the scoring on 55 minutes. The forward did well to sneak in round the back of O’Connor. James Tavernier found him with an inch-perfect cross but Morelos could only send his header straight down the throat of Joe Lewis from six yards out. It was by far the best chance for the visitors and a real let off for Aberdeen. 

Rangers rejigged their formation on the hour mark. Striker Jason Cummings replaced midfielder Jason Holt as the visitors went in search of an equaliser. 

Minutes later and out of nothing, Rangers found their equaliser through Ross McCrorie. Morelos’ long range shot was blocked and headed upwards by McKenna, with a running start McCrorie got up higher than McKenna and nodded into the corner from six yards out. 

Just like the opening goal gave The Dons a lift, McCrorie’s header had the same effect for Rangers. McKenna put in a last-minute challenge to block from Morelos and keep the scores tied. Shinnie was booked for a foul in the build up. With twenty minutes to play McInnes made his first change of the evening, Greg Stewart on for Dom Ball in midfield. 

As the game entered the final fifteen minutes nerves began to creep in for both sides and the game became stretched. May came on for Cosgrove in a like for like change made by McInnes. 

Chances came at both ends in the final ten. First for Rangers who went close through Sean Goss, the midfielder fluffing his lines at the vital moment and blazing well over. Right up the other end Stevie May did well hold the ball up and tee up Greg Stewart on the penalty spot. Stewart couldn’t quite wrap his foot around the ball and fired his shot wide of Alnwick’s left-hand post. 

Sean Goss was eventually booked for bringing down Shinnie midway inside the Rangers half. Scott McKenna got his name taken by the referee for bringing down Jamie Murphy on the break. Logan and Morelos both joined him in the book for a scuffle off the ball. 

The resulting free-kick was comfortably dealt with by The Dons. Two minutes of time were added on at the end but neither side could conjure up a winning goal in the final few minutes and the sides shared a point each.

 

 

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