Aberdeen were reduced to 10 men against Rangers as they lost 2-1 at Pittodrie.
Ryan Hedges was sent off for clipping Alfredo Morelos in the box but James Tavernier couldn’t convert the penalty. It would matter not though as Rangers would make the most of their man advantage, Morelos opening the scoring before adding another five minutes into the second half. Matty Kennedy pulled one goal back but it was not not enough to earn a point or more.
Having lost twice already to Rangers this term, Derek McInnes’ men were looking for better against the rampant Gers. On a good run of form that has only had them lose one of their last 14 leagues games, extending that was on their mind.
The one team that had beat them on this run though were Rangers and they were gifted a great chance to score inside 20 seconds. Ash Taylor didn’t deal with a routine pass, Morelos making a mess of the lob over Joe Lewis.
Sam Cosgrove had an equally-good chance up the other end minutes later, sending Connor Goldson to the floor before blasting an effort way over the bar while bearing down on goal. McInnes men then had to man the barricades. Ryan Kent’s shot was blocked brilliantly by Jonny Hayes on the line, then Tavernier’s low shot was met by Lewis’ strong hand. Aberdeen were holding on and another huge shot was inflicted upon them.
Only this time it was by referee John Beaton on 27 minutes, Morelos clipped by Hedges as he proceeded into the box, the Welshman sent off for doing so. Tavernier missed the spot-kick but four minutes later it would matter not.
Morelos found space in the box before firing low past Lewis to hand Rangers full control in a match they were already dominating. Aberdeen were perhaps lucky to not head into half-time with nine men, Curtis Main only booked for a studs-up tackle on Borna Barisic’s knee.
Five minutes into the second half and it was game over, Kent flicking the ball for Morelos, the Colombian sharp inside the box to make it 2-0. Hayes did almost pull one back for Aberdeen before the hour but his effort from outside the box were well-matched Allan McGregor.
Hayes did manage to inspire a big goal, Hayes slipping through Kennedy who fooled McGregor and sent the ball into the bottom corner. It may have been against the run of play but it did bring the game to life again.
But not to the extent that Aberdeen could get a stunning leveler, Rangers holding on for another three points in their quest for the title. Here are three things we learned.
One of the better performers in this match for McInnes was the experienced Hayes. He did brilliantly in a defensive role in the first half, blocking a goal-bound shot from making it 1-0 Rangers.
Then in the second half he was an attacking menace, one shot saved by Rangers’ keeper before he assisted Kennedy’s strike from just inside the box.
Aberdeen have managed to grind out results this season, that even when they aren’t winning, they are not getting beat either. This was only their fourth loss of the campaign but it was a third against Rangers.
The only other team to have beaten them this season is Motherwell. It would appear as if Rangers are the one team Aberdeen can’t quite figure out, against just falling short against the Ibrox side.
Referee Beaton was faced with big calls that did alter the course of this game. His decision to award Rangers a penalty was correct, but whether Hedges’ challenge warranted a red card is questionable.
Perhaps the player who should have found themselves with a red over their head is Main, who’s challenge looked like a dismissal offence, both studs showing high in the air.