Kent sent off as Gio’s perfect start ends with draw at Aberdeen

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s winning start as Rangers boss is over after Aberdeen came from behind to draw with the Scottish Premiership leaders at Pittodrie.

Lewis Ferguson’s second-half penalty cancelled out an early opener from Ianis Hagi before Ryan Kent was sent off for a second booking.

A draw marks the first dropped Scottish Premiership points of Van Bronckhorst’s tenure and leaves Celtic within four points of the champions following their victory over Hibs on Monday night.

Stephen Glass’ side dominated at times and limited Rangers’ opportunities in front of goal.

But they could not find a late winner despite Kent’s dismissal and were forced to settle for a hard-earned point.

Rangers had American midfielder James Sands making his debut while Scott Wright started against his former club.

The hosts had the better of the opening exchanges. Teddy Jenks hit the outside of a post from 22 yards after a Joe Lewis clearance initially put Rangers on the back foot, and the on-loan Brighton midfielder soon forced McGregor to stop at full stretch from similar range.

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Ianis Hagi puts Rangers in front

Dons captain Scott Brown was heavily involved from early on, losing the ball before Kent shot straight at Lewis and then blazing over at the other end from 25 yards following Funso Ojo’s cutback. The former Celtic skipper was pushed to the ground by Morelos but Clancy opted to have a word with both.

The major first-half talking point came after Jonny Hayes sent Hedges clear with a long diagonal ball. The Dons player got a foot to the ball as McGregor threw himself at it and bumped into the Welshman. There was clear contact with Hedges’ leg and the Aberdeen player went down but Clancy was unconvinced and Rangers played on.

The visitors quickly worked the ball forward and Wright found Kent with a crossfield ball. The winger whipped a cross in between Ross McCrorie and Lewis, and Hagi supplied a deft touch to knock it past the static goalkeeper from four yards.

Ferguson almost caught McGregor out from the restart but his effort landed on the roof of the net and Rangers got more control of the game for the remainder of the half.

Brown, who was booked for a challenge on Kent, had a couple of chances following set-pieces early in the second half. He volleyed well over from 12 yards before heading over from a more difficult opportunity.

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Aberdeen level from the spot

The Dons were struggling to create chances from open play but they got their spot-kick following a corner when Morelos moved his arm towards the ball after Ferguson headed towards goal.

Clancy had little doubt this time and Ferguson sent McGregor the wrong way despite a gust of wind blowing the ball back towards him as he embarked on his run-up.

Morelos was booked for the handball but he almost redeemed himself with a tremendous volley which Lewis dived to push over.

Kent was booked for a foul on Hayes shortly before catching Brown just after the Dons skipper played the ball. There was not much in it but Clancy flashed a second yellow card.

The Dons nearly won it with the final kick but Jenks fired over.

What the managers said

Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass: “Frustrated not to get the win. I think for the effort the boys put in, the energy they gave and the quality they showed I think they deserved three points but we didn’t do enough probably to win it with the opportunities we had.

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Stephen Glass was not happy with referee Kevin Clancy for his failure to award Aberdeen a first-half penalty for Allan McGregor’s challenge on Ryan Hedges.

“I think anybody with a pair of eyes can see it’s a penalty kick. Might be difficult for the ref from the distance he’s from but I don’t know how the linesman doesn’t see it. You can’t complain about it or you’ll end up in the stand and not able to work with your team.

“What I’m really proud of is the resilience they showed second half, coming back against what is a good Rangers team.

“They were maybe not quite at their best, but I think that was because of us.”

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst: “Really tough game. We scored I think in the right moment because the whole stadium wanted a penalty kick so I was happy with the first goal. I think after that we knew they were going to push and we tried to defend really well.

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Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst says his side were not good enough going forward in their 1-1 draw at Aberdeen and is happy to have a point.

“Today I think we could have been better on the ball, especially when we were 1-0 up. I think we could’ve created some more chances to make the second but of course we knew they were going to push and give everything.

“We then got the penalty against us then with 10 men you knew it was going to be hard. In the end, especially with 10 men, I think we are happy with the 1-1 because a point is a point.

“Sometimes you have games like this. It’s not like you got every place and dominate and create chances. Of course we wanted to be better but today we weren’t.”

What’s next?

Aberdeen host Edinburgh City in the Scottish Cup Fourth Round on Saturday at 7.45pm. Rangers host Stirling Albion in the same competition on Friday night at 7.45pm.

Source : Sky Sports