A large and enthusiastic crowd welcomed the Aberdeen at Ibrox Park, Glasgow, on Saturday, when the Rangers met the newly-promoted First Division club. Unfortunately, the weather was of the most miserable description, a heavy rain falling throughout the game, but the teams acquitted themselves so well in the circumstances that the crowd were well repaid for their attendance at the match. Curiosity on the part of the Glasgow public regarding the chances of Aberdeen in first-class company no doubt accounted, in some measure, for the big turnout. The "gate," which amounted to £197 7s 9d, was considered highly satisfactory. Play started at four o'clock, and the teams lined up as follows:-
Aberdeen: Macfarlane; Murray, Willox; Halkett, Strang, Low; Robertson, Henderson, G McNicol, McAulay, Lennie.
Rangers: Sinclair; Croal, Cochrane; MacMillan, Stark, Grey; Dalrymple, McColl, Hamilton, Kyle, Smith.
Referee - Mr. D. Riddle, Edinburgh
Aberdeen won the toss, and Hamilton kicked off for the Rangers. The wet ball and heavy ground very early told against the players, but right from the start both teams entered on the game with rare dash. The Rangers were the first to break away, some smart passing by Hamilton and McColl bringing the play to the Aberdeen goal. Aberdeen, however, showed surprisingly good form against their formidable opponents, the wing play of Lennie and McAulay being particularly good. Lennie tried a long shot, which went past, and then the Aberdeen goal had a miraculous escape, Macfarlane clearing after the backs had been beaten. Admirably fed by their half-backs, the Aberdeen forwards were repeatedly dangerous, and it was only the sure kicking of the Rangers' right back that prevented the northern team from scoring. McColl opened out the play grandly for the Rangers, and twice Macfarlane saved when a goal seemed certain. McAulay had a very good try at Sinclair's end, the shot bringing the goalkeeper to his knees. So far the play had been pretty equally divided, although the Aberdeen backs occasionally miskicked, gradually the Aberdeen half-backs got the upper hand of the Rangers' forwards, whose efforts were at times rather weak. McColl and Smith made openings for the others, but still the Aberdeen stuck gamely to their work. McNicol, in the centre, gave the wing men every opportunity, and the long-passing game was certainly the correct one on such a day. The pace was wonderfully well maintained, and a strong, dashing run by the Aberdeen forwards almost brought a goal. Lennie was perhaps the most prominent forward on the field at this stage, his quick, dodging runs causing the Rangers' defence no end of trouble. Smith and Kyle monopolised the play on the Rangers' left for some time. A grand centre by Smith was fisted away by Macfarlane and immediately afterwards the Aberdeen left pair broke away. The three visiting half-backs tackled and placed finely, Low being prominent. Strang rarely allowed Hamilton to settle down, but McColl continually kept forging ahead, in his sharp, nippy movements were a feature of the Ibrox team's display. The Aberdeen showed no falling off in their play, and McNicol was almost through when he was pulled up for offside. Half-time was fast approaching, and both sides strove desperately hard for goal. Fine passing by McNicol, McAulay, and Lennie was deservedly cheered by the crowd. So fast was the game that one moment Macfarlane could be seen clearing from McColl and Kyle, while the next minute Sinclair was all but beaten. The Aberdeen backs blocked and tackled strongly, but their kicking was weak. Willox, however, put in some wonderfully good work, but Murray was not so safe. Macfarlane was always ready to deal with any shots sent in by McColl, who was the most dangerous forward on the Rangers' side. Half-time arrived without any scoring, and on all hands the play of the Aberdeen men was favourably commented upon. They held their own in almost every department, and the result of the opening 45 minutes - no goals - was a correct estimate of the run of the game.
The second half was started in a regular deluge, and it was soon evident that the Rangers - who were now assisted by the breeze - were determined to assume the lead. Kyle and Smith were prominent in the Rangers' front line, and for fully ten minutes the Glasgow team kept up a spirited attack on the Aberdeen goal. The backs, however, improved as the game went on, and even although the ex-League champions held the upper hand, the shooting was wild. Ultimately the Aberdeen players opened out the game, and a grand run by Lennie considerably brightened his team's prospects. Following a corner to Aberdeen, Cochrane saved the Rangers' goal from downfall, the back clearing right under the bar. The fight for the first goal was indeed a stern one, and the play of the Aberdeen came as a revelation to the crowd. Smith and then Kyle tried to beat Macfarlane, but the Aberdeen captain dealt grandly with all shots sent in. Hamilton missed a fine opening by shooting past, and then Robertson transferred play to Sinclair's end as the result of a clever run half the length of the field. He beat all opposition, and then centred right across the goalmouth. Lennie caught up the pass, only just reaching the ball. His shot struck the post and went past. The goalkeeper had left his goal unprotected, and the least bit of luck would have meant the lead to Aberdeen. Smith put in a large amount of telling work on the left wing, but many of his crosses went for nothing. The heavy ground had apparently little effect on the players for both elevens stood the strain capitally. The passing, too, was really good, many clever touches being exhibited by the forwards on either side. A free kick and a corner to Aberdeen were both cleared by the Rangers' backs. Time was wearing on, and many of the spectators had made up their minds for a draw. Then McColl, Kyle, and Smith put on an extra spurt, and from one of Smith's centres the Rangers gained the winning goal. They achieved their object about eleven minutes from time, and the goal was a surprise one. The outside left had done the major portion of the forward work during the second half, and after a splendid run along the touchline, he centred right in front of the Aberdeen goal. The other forwards, however, failed to get on the ball, and McMillan, rushing up, shot hard and straight for goal from near the penalty line, the ball beating Macfarlane all the way. Aberdeen responded grandly, and although the Rangers played with more confidence after this successful effort, they did not get matters all their own way. Interest was kept up right to the finish. McNicol almost got through for Aberdeen, for Croal and Sinclair were both beaten, when Cochrane came along and cleared. The closing stages were keenly fought out, and one of the hardest games seen in Glasgow for some time ended in a win for the Rangers by 1 goal to 0. The game was worth and draw, Aberdeen being unlucky to lose.
Source: Aberdeen Journal, 28th August 1905