Aberdeen’s gritty win over Rangers at Ibrox – 5 talking points

Aberdeen's Scott McKenna opens the scoring.
Aberdeen's Scott McKenna opens the scoring.

The relentless fight of Aberdeen’s win over Rangers – their second in a row over the Ibrox team – will warm the Red Army through the cold December nights.

Derek McInnes’ side came to play on the counter attack like they did in the 1-0 Betfred Cup final loss to Celtic at the weekend, and Scott McKenna’s early goal was the perfect start, with the Reds inspired by their trophy near-miss, not downhearted.

However, it was easy to think Sam Cosgrove’s first half red card for a second booking would let Rangers get back level or worse, but through sheer bloody-mindedness the Dons kept the door closed.

Whether it was Graeme Shinnie, Dom Ball and Lewis Ferguson putting themselves about in the centre of the park or Max Lowe thwarting Daniel Candeias and James Tavernier down the left or Joe Lewis saving every shot sent his way, they kept Steven Gerrard’s team at bay.

The Gers, and their fans, got so frustrated they earned a red card of their own – Alfredo Morelos
getting his second caution for striking Shinnie with an arm.

Here are the Evening Express’ five talking points from the 1-0 victory.

Tactics

Derek McInnes kept the 4-2-3-1 which had for the most part kept Celtic quiet in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes at full-time.

Connor McLennan was out wide in place of Gary Mackay-Steven, with Sam Cosgrove retained up top.

Steven Gerrard started with a 4-3-3.

Atmosphere

Ibrox’s atmosphere is great and there’s never a silent moment. It makes Aberdeen’s win in it, playing a significant chunk of the game outnumbered after striker Sam Cosgrove’s early dismissal for a second yellow, more impressive.

It’s two straight wins and four games unbeaten against the Gers. With this grit, whose to say it can’t be eight Premiership wins in December?

Lewis saves

Joe Lewis is Aberdeen’s guardian angel at times, and made three great flying stops in this game to follow up his magnificent penalty save against Celtic at Hampden.

His mastery at slowing the game down when the 10 men of the Dons were under the cosh will also have been greatly appreciated.

Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos and Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis.

Connor’s quality

In the early stages, Connor McLennan wasn’t scared to run with the ball and his pace was crucial at closing down Jon Flanagan at left full-back for Rangers when the ball broke loose from the Dons’ half, allowing the visitors to push up from their 18-yard line.

He was then forced upfront when Sam Cosgrove was dismissed. He looks ready for an extended run in the team.

Is Sam the man?

Cosgrove doesn’t yet look to be the goalscorer Aberdeen need to replace the departed 20-goals-a-season Adam Rooney.

However, replays showed he should have had more of a chance to show what he could do at Ibrox, as his second yellow card was harsh. It was an unnecessary challenge on Connor Goldson – but he got the ball.

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