Aberdeen will begin their 2020/21 Premiership campaign with a mouth-watering Saturday evening clash against Rangers.
Derek McInnes’ team will kick-off the new term at 5.30pm on August 1 as Steven Gerrard’s side visit Pittodrie.
Beginning the season at home against the Ibrox outfit – behind closed doors or in front of a limited crowd – will be a prospect which has Dons fans’ mouths watering.
Here’s what happened on five previous occasions the teams have met on the first day of the league season:
5/8/18 Aberdeen 1 – Rangers 1
There was high drama during this league opener in the Granite City, which came just a couple of days after Aberdeen’s heroic efforts against Premier League Burnley in Europa League qualifying at Turf Moor and was also Gerrard’s first top-flight game as Rangers’ boss.
The Dons’ fatigue from their extra-time defeat on the Thursday night showed, although it was a game where the visitors played 80 minutes with 10-men after Alfredo Morelos was sent off for kicking Reds centre-back Scott McKenna. Rangers led after 30 minutes via a James Tavernier penalty.
McInnes’ team, struggling to create, looked set to start the season with defeat, however – with 95 minutes played – young substitute Bruce Anderson produced a wonderful low, cross-goal finish to bag a point and send Pittodrie into raptures.
7/8/04 Aberdeen 0 – Rangers 0
This goalless draw was very much the product of Jimmy Calderwood’s Aberdeen remaining compact and attempting – successfully – to frustrate Rangers, then managed by Dons legend Alex McLeish.
Ultimately, the Reds – with Zander Diamond and Russell Anderson formidable at the back – only coughed up half a dozen chances, which Dado Prso and Peter Lovenkrands spurned.
28/7/01 Aberdeen 0 – Rangers 3
Again at Pittodrie, this curtain-raiser didn’t go so well for Ebbe Skovdahl’s team.
Despite the Dons being competitive in the opening period, and Darren Mackie twice coming close to opening the scoring, they were undone by a 13-minute spell after the break which saw Christian Nerlinger, Russell Latapy (pen) and Claudio Caniggia all net for the visitors.
13/8/77 Aberdeen 3 – Rangers 1
To find an opening day league clash between Aberdeen and Rangers before 2001, you’ve got to back 24 years to 1977.
This game was Billy McNeill’s first as Dons boss following the departure of previous gaffer Ally Macleod.
Drew Jarvie opened the scoring on 11 minutes from Ian Fleming’s cutback, before the visitors – who would eventually pip McNeill’s Dons to the Premier Division title by two points – drew level.
On 60 minutes, Jarvie scored a carbon copy of his first, except this time the chance was laid on by Joe Harper. The Reds’ record scorer then put the result beyond doubt when he added the third two minutes later.
13/8/27 Aberdeen 2 – Rangers 3
We’ve gone back another 50 years – to the day – for this one.
Although the score in the old Division One opener was close, the Press and Journal match report from the game suggested it did not “adequately reflect” Rangers’ “superiority” during the 90 minutes.
The Dons did put up a “scrambling sort of fight” after losing two early goals – one straight from kick-off – with Bob McDermid pulling one back from 18 yards out close to half-time. However, before the interval, Rangers made it 3-1.
After the break, despite still being a game which “favoured the visitors”, the Reds closed the gap to 3-2. Funnily enough, the home side’s second was an overhead kick scored by Cosgrove – Mike Cosgrove that is!