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Friday, August 19, 2022

Rangers slip up with draw against Aberdeen

Nikica Jelavic

Rangers lost further ground on leaders Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Aberdeen at Ibrox.

The Gers had the best of the chances in the first half, with Nikica Jelavic’s header turned onto the bar by goalkeeper Jason Brown.

However, the Dons improved after the break and Kari Arnason gave them a 63rd-minute lead after a good run from Chris Clark.

Rangers were level five minutes later when Maurice Edu’s shot took a deflection on its way past Brown, whose saves in stoppage time from Sone Aluko and Carlos Bocanegra earned the Dons a point.

Rivals Celtic moved four points clear as second-half goals from James Forrest and Scott Brown secured a 2-0 win away to St Mirren as Neil Lennon’s side made it 12 league wins in a row.

Ally McCoist said he was frustrated to have dropped points.

“On another day, I certainly believe we could have won the game. We certainly created enough chances,” the Rangers manager said.

“When we lost the goal, I thought we reacted very well to it. We got the goal back and then pressed on and created three or four good chances that we should have taken.”

His opposite number, Craig Brown, was pleased by the performance of his injury-hit team but admitted they had been left to wonder what might have been.

“In all honesty I’m disappointed, having got into a lead, not to have won the game,” the Aberdeen manager said.

“But if you had said before the game that you would come away from home with a makeshift team and get a point then you would have accepted it.”

At Ibrox, the blustery conditions hindered both sides as they attempted to create chances and it took until the 23rd minute for a shot to hit the target.

Aluko’s free-kick was knocked on by Dorin Goian to Jelavic, whose header was touched onto the bar by keeper Brown.

Minutes later David Healy beat the offside trap to race onto Jelavic’s clever flick but he could not direct his fierce strike on target.

Rangers grew stronger as the half progressed and Aluko flashed a shot wide before Lee Wallace’s drilled his left-foot effort just past the far post.

Aberdeen started the second half on the offensive and McGregor had to be at full stretch to tip Clark’s low drive around the post.

The keeper then let the resultant corner slip through his fingers, forcing Bocanegra to make a goal-line clearance as the Dons nearly made the breakthrough.

Their efforts were rewarded in the 63rd minute when Arnason gave Aberdeen the lead with a breakaway goal.

Clark won possession just inside his own half and after a surging run laid the ball off to the Dons captain, who curled the ball beyond McGregor from the edge of the box.

Gregg Wylde and Salim Kerkar came on for Rangers in a double substitution and it was the latter who made an immediate impact when he set up the equaliser in the 68th minute.

The Algerian chested the ball into Edu’s path and the American’s shot took a deflection on its way past Brown into the net.

At New St Mirren Park, Celtic made three changes as Forrest returned to the starting line-up but it was the home side’s Marc McAusland who threatened first before Gary Hooper forced a good save from the goalkeeper in an even first half.

Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster denied Paul McGowan and new Buddies signing Dougie Imrie after the break.

But Forrest’s low controlled shot after 70 minutes and Brown’s curler 17 minutes later won it for Celtic.

Elsewhere, Hearts remain third despite a 1-0 loss to Inverness, Dunfermline closed the gap at the bottom with a 3-0 defeat of Kilmarnock and Hibernian lost 3-2 to St Johnstone.

©2011 AFP

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