Rangers produced a display full of quality and fight as they deservedly beat Aberdeen 2-0 on Wednesday night. The goals from Morelos and Tavernier got Rangers back to second place, and the performance gave the fans plenty of encouragement.

The Rangers starting side contained three new signings. Martin, Goss and Murphy got their first taste of Ibrox, and Jason Holt was captain on the night. Aberdeen started with a very attacking side themselves, making only one change from their match against St Mirren at the weekend.

The game started with Aberdeen looking to play in their direct style. A strange decision in the first minute saw Aberdeen pick up a corner despite no touch from a Rangers player. Thankfully, the set piece came to nothing.

The first Rangers chance was created in the 4th minute. Good link up between John and Murphy kept the ball on the left. Murphy played in Windass, who tried to link with Morelos. The striker took a touch rather than pass, but still got the ball back to Windass, who dragged his shot wide.

Seven minutes later, Rangers were unlucky not to take the lead. A corner from Goss wasn’t cleared, and Martin done well to get his body ball side of the defender. He laid it back to Windass, and his shot from the edge of the box was deflected onto the post and fell to the keeper.

Rangers were playing with a real purpose, looking to keep the ball down but at a high tempo. It should have paid dividends on the 19th minute. Candeias cut inside onto his left foot, and played a perfect cross for Morelos. The striker skewed his header wide when it looked like he should have scored.

Aberdeen had struggled to offer a threat going forward. Kenny McLean was the main threat, but a shot from over 30 yards went high and wide. However, on the 27th minute, some great play by McLean gave Aberdeen a great chance. His run beat a few players, dragged the defence inside, and he was able to knock the ball to Mackay-Steven. The winger was through on goal, but opted for power over placement, and Foderingham was able to save well.

On the 30th minute, good play by Rangers forced a corner. The ball was cleared, but a nice touch from Murphy saw him win a free kick around 40 yards out. The ball was played short, eventually finding Candeias wide who whipped in a good ball. Again, this was cleared, but fell to Candeias who played a first time ball to Tavernier. His outstanding first time cross found Morelos at the back post, and this time he made no mistake as he nodded home to make it 1-0.

Aberdeen looked to respond instantly. McLean got a chance to shoot with his right foot from the edge of the box, but Foderingham saved well. Both teams had been pressing quite high up the pitch, with Rangers being far better on the ball. As expected, that led to a little fatigue, and Rangers had to manage the next five minutes or so to regain the energy levels. Shots were charged down, and headers won well.

On 37 minutes, Rangers had a penalty claim turned down. It was, however, a real foreshadowing of what was to come. Candeias done well to win the ball, and played it back to Tavernier. The full back saw the blindside run of Windass, and tried to play him in. McKenna seemed to get a little contact on the Rangers forward, causing Windass to go down, but the referee felt the contact wasn’t enough to merit a foul.

The last chance of the half fell to Rangers. Good pressing by Bates and Windass saw Considine lose the ball. The Aberdeen defender decided to drag back the Englishmen, and was booked for the foul. The free kick was taken by Candeias, and was inches from being met by Tavernier on the stretch in the six yard box. The referee blew the whistle for half time seconds later.

Aberdeen started the second half looking to exert some pressure. They won corners and set pieces in the first few minutes of the half, but were unable to make anything of them. Rangers seemed to step up their level due to this, and created a couple of chances in quick succession. A good break from Tavernier found Windass in some space, but his left foot shot was blocked. From the rebound, John was found on the run, and he looked to play a one-two with Morelos. The striker had his back to goal, but was able to fake the return pass, get the ball out of his feet, and drove in a great shot. Joe Lewis was able to get down to his left and make a good save.

A few minutes later, Aberdeen were lucky not to be down to 10 men. Some great tracking back by Candeias saw the winger win the ball deep in his own half. He drove forward, and found Morelos with a great ball. The striker was in behind the defence, but McKenna dragged him down just outside the box. The referee deemed it a yellow card as he felt cover was provided by O’Connor. On further viewings, it was a very close call.

Rangers were winning the battles all over the pitch and working hard to score the second goal. It should have come on the 58th minute. Russell Martin played an outstanding ball inside Logan for John to cross. His ball was tipped over the defenders by Lewis, and fell to Morelos at the back post. With time and space, the striker seemed to change his mind at the last second, and fluffed the shot completely.

On 64 minutes, Morelos missed another great chance. Russell Martin won the ball well at the back, and Windass broke forward. His ball to Holt slowed the attack a little, but the midfielder was smart with his hold up play. He cut inside, played it to Windass in the box, and his flick found Morelos in space. The striker snatched at the shot somewhat, and skewed it over the bar.

After some nice play in midfield by Goss, Windass had a shot deflected which caused the keeper to scramble back and knock it over. That prompted a change from Rangers, as Cummings was introduced after 69 minutes to replace Morelos. The reception for the on-loan striker was loud as the crowd were excited to see what he could offer.

Cummings forced a mistake after a minute, which led to a Murphy shot easily saved by Lewis. Rangers were still in control, searching for the goal which would seal the game. Goss had an effort from distance that was high and wide. Such was the Rangers dominance in midfield that Aberdeen replaced Mackay-Steven with Dom Ball to try and get a better footing in the game.

However, the ex-Rangers player was barely on the park when the match-winning moment was produced. As per the move in the first half, Tavernier was able to spot a great run by Windass. The full back played a perfect pass, and Windass got to the ball first before Lewis and ahead of O’Connor. The Rangers player was brought down for the penalty, and Lewis was injured by his own player. There was a five minute delay between the award and taking of the penalty as Lewis was stretchered off. That didn’t faze Tavernier, though, and he slotted the penalty inside the right hand post.

At 2-0 down, Aberdeen had little to lose, so started to take more risks. On 82 minutes, a free kick couldn’t be cleared, and fell to Rooney. His shot was well saved by Foderingham and cleared for a corner.

From that corner, Aberdeen kept the pressure on. Again, Foderingham made a save, and from the rebound Tavernier blocked a certain goal. Another corner created a chance, and Foderingham saved well from an O’Connor header. Aberdeen then created another chance as McLean was played in by Shinnie. His cutback seemed certain to be tapped in, but Tavernier had tracked the run and cleared well.

Foderingham and Tavernier combined again to deny Aberdeen. A shot from Shinnie was saved by the keeper, and the Tavernier got the rebound first to deny a goal.

There were 6 minutes of injury time, which Rangers managed well. Late substitutions helped them see out the pressure, and take the three points. Given the number of injuries and debutants, the performance was very encouraging. Rangers will look to take this level and momentum into the weekend when they visit Ross County.


Foderingham, Tavernier, John, Windass (Halliday, 88), Morelos (Cummings 70), Candeias (Cardoso, 90) Holt, Bates, Goss, Murphy, Martin.

SUBS: Alnwick, Herrera, Hodson, Kranjcar.


Lewis (Rogers, 80), Logan, Shinnie, McKenna, O’Connor, Considine, McLean, Stewart (McGinn, 59), Rooney, Christie, Mackay-Steven (Ball, 77).

SUBS: Reynolds, Aranson, Wright,  Maynard.