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Rangers V Aberdeen | Preview
Aberdeen travel to Ibrox on Wednesday to take on Rangers in the first meeting between the sides this season. The Dons got back to winning ways at the weekend with a convincing 3-1 win against Kilmarnock and a quick turnaround this week means the team return to the West of Scotland only three days later.
A reshuffling of the fixtures means Rangers will make the return trip to Pittodrie four days later. Rangers are coming into the match off the back of two successive defeats and are lying in 4th place, two points off Hibernian and six points off the second placed Dons.
WHAT THE MANAGER SAID:
“I think it’s always a fixture that’s eagerly anticipated from both sets of supporters. Our supporters will go down having sold their allocation quite quickly, in good voice and expectation. I know last year was the first year in a long time where we managed to get a result and winning performance. Hopefully we can use that as a something we can go with added confidence on the back of a good performance on Sunday and get the three points because that’s the main objective.
“I’ve always wanted my team to be confident and carry themselves in the right way. Whether it’s playing at Hamilton where there’s hardly anyone there or at Ibrox or Parkhead I always want us to show what we’re all about. There will be enough on the game anyway so hopefully we can just talk about the performance and a winning performance.”
To read more from the manager click here
WHAT GREG TANSEY SAID:
“We are playing a lot of big games in December, playing teams in and around us. It is up to us to prove that we are better than those team. This week we have two massive games coming up one after another against Rangers and then we also play Hibs, Hearts, St Johnstone and Celtic this month.
“Last season I scored in the 2-1 win against Rangers at Inverness. It was a big game that we needed to win. Unfortunately, things did not materialise the way we wanted after that result.
“Watching the Aberdeen v Rangers game last season, you could sense the atmosphere. As a player these are the game you want to be involved in, big games in front of big crowds. So, I am looking forward to the week ahead.”
To read more from Greg click here
WHAT MARK REYNOLDS SAID:
“At the start of the season we spoke as a group. We spoke about wanting to kick on more than we have done in the past few seasons and to do that we need to win pretty much every game.
“The importance of the game with Rangers being around us in the table, that is there. Getting a win against one of sides that is going to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season is important because you pick up three points and they drop three points. So that is a factor, but we are concentrating on the fact that we will have to play well if we want to go down there and win.
“For us the run Rangers are on is irrelevant. When Aberdeen come to Ibrox it is a huge game. What has happened before, regards form and circumstances, that goes out the window. As I say we went there at the tail end of last and got a result. Our fans loved it and I am sure Rangers will not want it to happen again.
“It is going to be a tough game. We know that we are going to have to bring the best that we have got if we want to get a result.
To read more from Mark click here
HOW THEY DID LAST SEASON:
Last season saw plenty of drama in all four matches and it started with a Dons win at Pittodrie. A cagey affair was brought to life seconds after the restart as a long ball from Joe Lewis was flicked onto Jonny Hayes and the winger finished calmly to give the hosts the lead. Hayes would then give away a penalty late in the second half to allow Rangers back into the game. With the match looking to be heading to a draw, on-loan Norwich star, James Maddison made himself a hero with an unstoppable free kick in injury-time to win the match for The Dons.
Rangers would win the return fixture at Ibrox in December in another close match. The visitors had several chances, but couldn’t capitalise and Rangers won 2-1, with The Dons disappointed not to take at least a point out of the game. When Rangers came up to Pittodrie in the April The Dons were playing some breath-taking football and confidence was high. Despite dominating their opponents, a five-minute collapse from Aberdeen meant Rangers left 3-0 winners.
The final meeting between the sides came at Ibrox in May. With Aberdeen having all but secured second place there was not much riding on the game from a league position point of view, but The Dons wanted to keep the momentum going ahead of the Cup Final the following week. They did just that and dominated the hosts on their own pitch as goals from Graeme Shinnie and Ryan Christie ended a 25 year wait for a victory in Govan.
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Rangers 3 Aberdeen 0
29 November 2017
Rangers 3-0 Aberdeen
The Dons made one change to the team from Sunday’s 3-1 victory at Kilmarnock, with Kari Arnason returning in the place of Gary Mackay-Steven. This was the first of two meetings between the sides in the space of four days, with Rangers making the visit to Pittodrie on Sunday. A noisy Red Army were in attendance at Ibrox, hoping to witness a second victory in a row in Govan.
Not even 30 seconds were on the clock when Rangers nearly took the lead. After working the ball down the Dons’ left, a low ball was played into the danger area, but fortunately for the Dons, Windass couldn’t get a touch on it.
The Dons forced a corner on three minutes, but Tansey’s delivery wasn’t the best and was cleared away at the front post. Disaster would strike for the visitors minutes later though as Tansey was adjudged to have fouled Holt in the box and a penalty was given. Tavernier put it down the middle to give Rangers the early lead, although a diving Lewis almost got a touch with his foot.
The men in red, playing with a back three, struggled to get to grips with the game and Rangers had much more of the ball in the early stages. O’Connor became the first player to be booked after 18 minutes after misjudging a bouncing ball and taking Windass down.
In the 19th minute, Carlos Pena found space in the Aberdeen half and hit a dipping shot on target, but Joe Lewis made a very good save by tipping it over for a corner. The first opportunity for the Dons came minutes later. A lovely ball from Kenny McLean sent May through, but his attempted lob was blocked by Foderingham and went out for a corner. The keeper had come racing off his line and was fortunate to get away with an error of judgement. Tansey’s fine delivery was met by O’Connor’s head, and his looping effort to the far post was not far away.
Shortly after, the home side had the ball in the net as Windass was sent through. It looked close but the assistant referee correctly had his flag up. It didn’t matter, as less than a minute later it was 2-0. Poor defending allowed a low Holt cross from the left to find Pena and he doubled Rangers’ advantage. It completed a terrible opening half an hour for The Dons, who hadn’t got going at all.
All the aggression was coming from the home side.
On 33 minutes Shinnie was harshly booked for a foul, despite winning the ball. Rangers could then have been three ahead had it not been for Lewis in goal. Pena linked up well with Tavernier and Joe managed to dive at the right-back’s feet to make a superb block.
A Christie free-kick then caused a goal line scramble. The quality cross found McKenna who poked the ball goalwards but frustratingly no one in a red shirt could force the ball over the line.
Aberdeen were able to put together an excellent move in the 35th minute. Shinnie found space and picked out the advancing Considine, whose pass into the six yard box allowed May to get a shot away. Stevie’s first timed angled shot went just past the front post.
On 38 minutes, Ross McCrorie was booked after an elbow on McLean.
The Dons made a tactical and personnel change in the 42nd minute with Tansey being replaced by Mackay-Steven. Almost immediately, the winger had a golden opportunity to score. He beat Tavernier on the left and, with the goal in his sights, fired wide. Gary was furious there was not a foul given as he appeared to be impeded inside the area but all he received was a booking for his protests. Although it was the slightest of touches, it was enough to put GMS off.
Half-time came shortly and the Dons were faced with a mountain to climb after a poor first period.
Ht Rangers 2 Aberdeen 0
The Dons started the second half with some promise and Christie was desperate to be involved. An early effort from distance from the midfielder was always going over the bar, but Aberdeen looked far hungrier. The hosts forced two corners within the space of a few minutes, but the Dons defended well. Christie was then booked after an altercation with Jason Holt after Shinnie was fouled.
Good link up play between Shinnie, Mackay-Steven and Christie then allowed Ryan to find space at the edge of the box. His low shot with the outside of the boot was heading for the corner, but Foderingham held well.
Aberdeen then enjoyed their only decent sustained spell of the game. They worked the ball into some good areas but three or four dangerous crosses always picked out a blue jersey.
Alves then became the latest player to find himself in the referee’s book for a foul from behind on McLean. The referee’s whistle was going constantly which was doing nothing to help Aberdeen get any flow into their game.
In the 70th minute, the game was killed off by the hosts. A passing move allowed Windass to find space down the Dons’ left, something the home side had been able to do all evening, and a ball into the front post was flicked in by Tavernier for his second. Both he and Miller looked marginally offside when the cross came in, but the linesman gave the benefit of doubt to the forward players.
In the 77th minute, Greg Stewart replaced Kari Arnason as O’Connor dropped back to the defence. Mackay-Steven was trying to make things happen down the left, but was taken off for Rooney on 83 minutes after taking a knock. Ryan Christie then lost his discipline and was ordered off by Andrew Dallas for a tackle from behind. It pretty much summed up Aberdeen’s evening. Ryan will also now miss the match on Sunday.
There was very little action to come in the final stages and the final whistle meant Aberdeen’s long unbeaten run away from home was ended in an extremely disappointing manner.
Although Aberdeen can feel aggrieved about some of the close calls not going their way, they can have no complaints about the result as they did not do enough to get into this game.
Ft Rangers 3 Aberdeen 0