Rangers have opened up an 11-point lead over bitter rivals Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership after a dominant win over Aberdeen at Ibrox this afternoon in the Scottish Premiership.
The Gers made two changes from the 8-0 win over Hamilton before the international break as Allan McGregor and Alfredo Morelos returned to the side at the expense of Jon McLaughlin and Jermain Defoe.
The Light Blues started on the front foot with Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo both having chances to open the scoring in the opening five minutes, only to be denied by Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis.
Rangers’ pressure paid off soon after though as Kent fired a stunning effort home from distance, nutmegging Funsi Ojo before lashing the ball home as it corkscrewed through the air.
KENT GIVES RANGERS THE LEAD! ⚽️
And what a goal it is! He nutmegs Ojo, skips away then hits it from range.
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) November 22, 2020
The former Liverpool kid’s strike took a nick off Hoban but it takes nothing away from the Gers star’s effort as he netted Rangers’ 450th league goal against Aberdeen.
Ojo had a lucky escape a few minutes later when it looked like he’d given away a stonewall penalty when he brought Roofe down inside the area but referee Nick Walsh somehow saw nothing in it and allowed play to continue.
Despite being denied a spot-kick, Roofe doubled the Gers lead just before the half-hour mark with an excellent finish from inside the area and put Gerrard’s side into a commanding position.
The Gers had the ball in the net for a third time just minutes later when Scott Arfield fired home but near-side assistant Douglas Ross flagged for offside after Kemar Roofe went a moment too early.
As the first half drew to a close, Rangers were looking in complete control and hungry to add more goals as they toyed with Derek McInnes’ side and sprayed passes around with little pressure from the visitors.
Four minutes after the restart it was 3-0 and Aberdeen looked like totally capitulating as Scott Arfield got the benefit of a deflection to divert his shot into the back of the net and wrong-foot Lewis.
Nick Walsh pointed to the spot just minutes later after Balogun was fouled in the area, allowing James Tavernier to step up and make it 4-0 and score his thirteenth goal of the season.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) November 22, 2020
While there’s no question it was a penalty, it only raises questions over how Walsh couldn’t see anything wrong with the foul on Roofe in the box in the opening 45.
The fourth goal was the trigger for Gerrard to make his first change of the afternoon, replacing Jack with Steven Davis in a like-for-like swap in the middle of the park.
With Rangers on easy street, the intensity dropped a bit as Aberdeen tried to limit the damage and the Gers were comfortable keeping the ball before Gerrard again turned to his subs and introduced Jermain Defoe and Glen Kamara in place of Morelos and Kent.
Aberdeen had long given up any hope of salvaging anything from the game and looked completely spent going into the final 20 minutes and they can’t have been happy at seeing Cedric Itten and Ianis Hagi coming off the bench for the final stages of the game – Joe Aribo and Kemar Roofe getting an early breather ahead of Benfica on Thursday night.
Hagi and Defoe almost had an immediate impact with Defoe setting up the Romanian for a shot at goal before the wonderkid’s cross a moment or two later saw Tav’s header cleared off the line.
12 goals and none conceded in their last two games for Gerrard’s side and, for the first time in a long time, this looks like a Rangers team who are capable of not just challenging for the title but steamrollering their way to it.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic, Jack, Aribo, Arfield, Kent, Roofe, Morelos.
Subs: McLaughlin, Bassey, Helander, Hagi, Davis, Kamara, Barker, Defoe, Itten.
Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Hoban, Considine, Taylor, Leigh, Ojo, Kennedy, Hedges, Edmundson, Cosgrove.
Subs: Woods, Devlin, Main, Hernandez, Campell, Gallagher, Ngwenya, Ramsay, Duncan.