Rangers left it late to do so but have picked up three points against Aberdeen thanks to Kemar Roofe’s strike, sparing the Gers’ blushes as they celebrated 150 years this afternoon at Ibrox.
As the fans unveiled an incredible tifo marking moments from the club’s illustrious history, the noise built reaching a crescendo when the teams emerged from the tunnel.
The opening stages saw both sides struggling to really take control of the game, Aribo looking most likely to make something happen for Rangers early on.
Referee John Beaton kept up his streak of woeful performances, getting it badly wrong when Kamara was cleaned out as the Light Blues broke forward at speed.
As the first quarter of an hour passed by, neither keeper had any real involvement in the game as both sides largely cancelled each other out, seeting up an increasingly-tense atmosphere following the celebratory mood pre-match.
Much like the long spells of the win over St Johnstone in midweek, everything just felt a little too slow and a bit too obvious when Rangers attacked, allowing the visitors’ defence to easily cope when the Gers got into the final third.
Aberdeen’s Declan Gallagher looked lucky to get away with only a yellow card when he appeared to catch Alfredo Morelos in the face with an elbow.
The Dons’ plan to frustrate Rangers and get in their faces was working well, neither side recording a shot on target in the opening 30 minutes and the game becoming bogged down in midfield.
Rangers’ best chance actually came when Kamara’s cross was diverted towards goal by Barron and looked to be heading over the line before it was cleared for a corner.
With the opening 45 entering the final ten minutes, the fans were becoming more and more restless, and the players seemed to respond a little, getting some threatening balls into the area and putting the Aberdeen defence under some serious pressure for the first time.
In what’s becoming a common theme for Rangers in the league, Morelos looked to be the only one who looked raring to go and willing to push the Gers on to score before the break.
Incredibly, despite a spate of timewasting from the Dons’ throughout the opening half, referee John Beaton only added on an extra minute at the end of the first-half, showing one more how he just makes it up as he goes along.
Rangers were carving out a few more chances, Fashion Sakala spurning three really good opportunities to open the scoring, taking a tumble over the ad hoardings in the process of one of them.
That would be the Zambian’s final involvement, van Bronckhorst bringing on Leon Balogun and Scott Arfield with Borna Barisic and Sakala making way on the 59th minute.
For all that Rangers had improved after the break, the Gers were stil lto register a shot on target after 65 minutes as the fans did everything they could to try and spark some life into the Light Blues.
Six minutes later, the first shot on target of the match finally happened, Ryan Jack seeing his effort from distance easily held by Lewis – and it summed up everything about Rangers’ recent performances.
John Beaton yet again done John Beaton things, allowing Joe Lewis to pick up a passback from David Bates as Morelos charged the ball down.
Gio turned to his bench again in a search for a late goal, bringing Kemar Roofe and John Lundstram into the fray for the final ten munutes and withdrawing Morelos and Ryan Jack – much to the unhappiness of the Ibrox support.
Just seconds later, van Bronckhorst was vindicated, Roofe bundling the ball home and getting Rangers in front for the first time and easing the tension in the stands.
Gone were the moans and groans and suddenly Ibrox had found its voice again as the Gers narrowly avoided a red face on the club’s 150th birthday.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic, Kamara, Jack, Aribo, Sakala, Kent, Morelos
Subs: McLaughlin, Helander, Balogun, Lundstram, Ramsey, Sands, Arfield, Wright, Roofe
Aberdeen: Lewis, McCrorie, Gallagher, Ramirez, Besuilen, Ojo, Hayes, McLennan, Ferguson, Bates, Barron
Subs: Woods, MacKenzie, McGeouch, Jenks, Polvara, Ramsay, Ruth, Milne