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Aberdeen 1 - 1 Rangers

HT Score: Aberdeen 1 - 0 Rangers

Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen scorers: McLean 14 (Pen).
Rangers scorers: McCrorie 63

08/05/2018 | KO: 19:45

McLean finds the net on Pittodrie send-off

Aberdeen shared the points with Rangers in a frantic 1-1 draw between the sides. Kenny McLean's first-half penalty was cancelled out by Ross McCrorie's close-range header just after the hour mark. The result means that, all is still to play for in the race for second place going into the final weekend of Scottish Premiership fixtures.

Derek McInnes made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Hibernian on Saturday. Andrew Considine returned to the starting XI in place of Mark Reynolds who dropped to the bench along with Stevie May. Kenny McLean joined the squad having served his suspension, and Ryan Christie took the place of Niall McGinn who was ruled out through injury.
Gary Mackay-Steven quickly recovered from his knock to retain his starting spot in the final home game for The Dons this season. For the visitors, Rangers caretaker boss Jimmy Nicholl made one change to the side that beat Kilmarnock 1-0 as Ross McCrorie came in for Jason Cummings who dropped to the bench due to illness.

Both teams had everything to play for with only one point separating the two teams coming into this fixture. The visitors started the game well, Candeias showing early signs of a threat with a 60 yard run down the right-hand side, winning an early corner, which eventually came to nothing. Saturday's man of the match Joe Lewis was called into action earlier than he would've liked after just five minutes. The Dons number one stuck out a foot to deny Morelos after a fine Rangers move. Rangers made the brighter starts of the two sides but The Dons grew into the game more as their nerves began to settle. Ryan Christie won the first corner for the home side after Bates mis-timed his touch. Christie corner was then deflected out for another on the other side.
The second was much better. GMS fired in a low ball towards McLean who got to the ball just before Morelos. Referee McLean judged Rangers forward Morelos to be a fraction late and showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Playing for his last time at Pittodrie Kenny McLean assumed penalty taking duty. The Norwich loanee dusted himself down and kept a cool head sending Rangers keeper Jak Alnwick the wrong way to give The Dons the lead.

The opening goal gave The Dons a real confidence boost and the home side began to take control. David Bates became the first player to go into Steven McLean's book, cynically taking out Graeme Shinnie as The Dons captain looked to break down the left-hand side. From the resulting free-kick Christie's ball in was met by Alnwick who punched clear, taking out Andrew Considine in the process. After receiving some lengthy treatment from the medical staff Considine was back on his feet and returned to the action.
Cosgrove was the first Aberdeen player to go in the book, cautioned for a high elbow. Graham Dorrans was also shown a yellow card for his troubles and excessive complaints. The Dons continued to press the Rangers midfield, forcing them into losing possession. Good work down the right-hand side between Logan and Christie saw the creative midfielder get a shot away which was easily saved by Alnwick. The keeper's throw out was pinched by Dom Ball just inside the Rangers half. Kenny McLean latched onto the loose ball and unleashed a vicious strike from 35 yards. Alnwick could only watch as the ball dipped over him and cannoned off the underside of the bar and back into play, desperately unlucky for the home side.
Jimmy Nicholl was forced into making a change just after the half-hour mark. Sean Goss came on for Dorrans who failed to recover after being on the receiving end of a hard challenge from Shinnie. Andy Halliday became the third Rangers player to go into the book for a late challenge on McLean who was popping up in every area of the pitch.
McLean had another chance to double The Dons advantage with five minutes to go before the break. Cosgrove showed great awareness to nod down Logan's cross into McLean's path. However, the midfielder couldn't quite get a hold of his shot and Alnwick made a comfortable save diving to his right.
Holt joined Halliday, Bates and Dorrans in the book for hacking down Dominic Ball on the halfway line. The challenge was late and certainly warranted a yellow card if not worse. Seconds later Sean Goss somehow escaped McLean's pocket just before the break for another late challenge, this time on Shinnie. This was the last action of a frantic first half which, despite a good opening ten minutes for visitors, was dominated by The Dons, thoroughly deserving of their one-goal lead.

Half-time: Aberdeen 1-0 Rangers

The second half continued in the same frantic fashion as much of the first, with Aberdeen on the front foot. Rangers grew into the game more as the second half went on enjoying more possession and territory inside the Aberdeen half. Morelos had a golden chance to level the scoring on 55 minutes. The forward did well to sneak in round the back of O'Connor. James Tavernier found him with an inch-perfect cross but Morelos could only send his header straight down the throat of Joe Lewis from six yards out. It was by far the best chance for the visitors and a real let off for Aberdeen.
Rangers rejigged their formation on the hour mark. Striker Jason Cummings replaced midfielder Jason Holt as the visitors went in search of an equaliser. Minutes later and out of nothing, Rangers found their equaliser through Ross McCrorie. Morelos' long range shot was blocked and headed upwards by McKenna, with a running start McCrorie got up higher than McKenna and nodded into the corner from six yards out.
Just like the opening goal gave The Dons a lift, McCrorie's header had the same effect for Rangers. McKenna put in a last-minute challenge to block from Morelos and keep the scores tied. Shinnie was booked for a foul in the build up. With twenty minutes to play McInnes made his first change of the evening, Greg Stewart on for Dom Ball in midfield.
As the game entered the final fifteen minutes nerves began to creep in for both sides and the game became stretched. May came on for Cosgrove in a like for like change made by McInnes.
Chances came at both ends in the final ten. First for Rangers who went close through Sean Goss, the midfielder fluffing his lines at the vital moment and blazing well over. Right up the other end Stevie May did well hold the ball up and tee up Greg Stewart on the penalty spot. Stewart couldn't quite wrap his foot around the ball and fired his shot wide of Alnwick's left-hand post. Sean Goss was eventually booked for bringing down Shinnie midway inside the Rangers half. Scott McKenna got his name taken by the referee for bringing down Jamie Murphy on the break. Logan and Morelos both joined him in the book for a scuffle off the ball. The resulting free-kick was comfortably dealt with by The Dons. Two minutes of time were added on at the end but neither side could conjure up a winning goal in the final few minutes and the sides shared a point each.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, O'Connor, McLean, Mackay-Steven (Rooney 90), Ball (Stewart 72), McKenna, Christie, Cosgrove (May 79).

Unused Subs: Reynolds, Arnason, Wright, Woodman.

Bookings:  Cosgrove (27),  Shinnie (71),  McKenna (88),  Logan (90).
Rangers Teamsheet
Alnwick, Tavernier, Dorrans (Goss 32), Halliday, Morelos, Candeias, Holt (Cummings 61, Bates, Murphy, Martin, McCrorie
Unused Subs: Kelly, Hodson, Rossiter, Alves, Docherty

Bookings:  Dorrans 27,   Halliday 38 Holt 61,   Goss 87,   Morelos 90
Attendance: 17,745
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: Steven McLean
Next Match
East Kilbride
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride