Evening Express

MATCH REPORT: Aberdeen 1-1 Rangers – Reds stay one point clear in second

Aberdeen's Kenny McLean scores a penalty to make it 1-0.

Aberdeen drew 1-1 with Rangers as the fight for second in the Premiership was extended to the last day of the season.

In a feisty encounter, a draw was probably a fair result, with the Dons shading the first half, before Rangers had the better of the second.

There was a surprise start for Gary Mackay-Steven, who Derek McInnes had said would miss the game with an ankle and Achilles issue.

Aberdeen led Rangers 1-0 at half-time at Pittodrie via a Kenny McLean penalty.

Referee Steven McLean pointed to the spot after Alfredo Morelos barged the Dons midfielder to the floor from behind and McLean sent Jak Alnwick the wrong way from the spot.

It was the on-loan Norwich City man’s half. He also thumped the ball off Jak Alnwick’s bar from 30 yards in a 45 minutes where the Gers showed very little.

However, they did pick up a few yellow cards. with Andy Halliday, Jason Holt, David Bates and Graham Dorrans – who was subbed off injured for Sean Goss – all cautioned. Sam Cosgrove was booked for Aberdeen.

The Dons were noticeably deeper after the restart and were made to pay for conceding possession to the Gers for quarter of an hour, with Ross McCrorie rising above Scott McKenna to head low past Joe Lewis on 63 minutes after Morelos saw an initial effort blocked.

By 70 minutes it was any of teams’ game to win, with the Light Blues probably edging the pressure, despite creating little clear-cut chances. Goss did sky an effort from a good position inside the box on 82 minutes.

McInnes couldn’t be accused of settling for a point, taking off defensive midfielder Dominic Ball for Greg Stewart, before taking off the physical Cosgrove for Stevie May.

May held it up well at one point, but Ryan Christie couldn’t steer his deflected centre under the bar from the penalty spot.

Aberdeen – who are one point ahead of the Light Blues in second – must now win at Celtic Park on Sunday to be sure of the best of the rest tag, with Hibs, who play Hearts tomorrow, meeting Rangers on the last day.

Should Hibs win tomorrow and draw at Ibrox on Saturday, a Dons loss will mean McInnes’ men finish fourth and miss out on Europe for the first  time in five years.

TEAMS:

Aberdeen: Joe Lewis, Shaleum Logan, Dominic Ball, Anthony O’Connor, Andrew Considine, Graeme Shinnie, Kenny McLean, Ryan Christie, Scott McKenna, Gary Mackay-Steven, Sam Cosgrove.

Subs: Greg Stewart (Ball 72), Stevie May (Cosgrove 79).

Subs not used: Freddie Woodman, Kari Arnason, Mark Reynolds, Scott Wright, Adam Rooney.

Rangers: Jak Alnwick, James Tavernier, Graham Dorrans, Andy Halliday, Alfredo Morelos, Daniel Candeias, Jason Holt, David Bates, Jamie Murphy, Russell Martin, Ross McCrorie.

Subs: Sean Goss (Dorrans 32), Jason Cummings (Holt 61),

Subs not used: Liam Kelly, Lee Hodson, Jordan Rossiter, Bruno Alves, Greg Docherty.

Attendance: 17,745.