Wednesday 17 October 2018

Gerrard defiant as late goal denies 10-man Rangers

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Roddy Forsyth

On his league debut as Rangers manager, Steven Gerrard saw victory snatched from his grasp by a teenage debutant when Bruce Anderson took advantage of defensive slackness to bring Aberdeen level after they had trailed for most of the proceedings to a James Tavernier penalty kick.

Aberdeen had played an extra half-hour against Burnley in the second leg of their Europa League tie last Thursday and Gerrard's intention was to stretch Derek McInnes's players in the hope of inducing fatigue in the later stages of the contest.

Instead, it was Rangers who had to run the extra miles after Alfredo Morelos was sent off for violent conduct after 13 minutes.

The Colombian was Rangers' joint-top goalscorer last season but has exasperated their fans by failing to find the net in crucial games - notably against Celtic - and by displays of petulant demeanour when frustrated.

On this occasion the capacity crowd was baffled when Kevin Clancy halted proceedings and showed the red card to Morelos, who was nowhere near the ball.

Even the other players looked bemused, with the exception of Scott McKenna, who had twice barged the Rangers man with his shoulder.

Rangers Nikola Katic (right) and Aberdeen's Graeme Shinne. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Rangers Nikola Katic (right) and Aberdeen's Graeme Shinne. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Morelos took the bait and flicked his boot at the Aberdeen centre-back, at which point Clancy was alerted to the offence by his assistant.

After a lengthy interlude of debate and protest from the Rangers contingent, Morelos departed.

"When you kick out you give the referee a decision to make but he's been barged twice before it, quite clearly," Gerrard said afterwards. "The official who spotted the kick didn't spot that. That's the disappointing thing."

Despite being forced to play with only 10 men for most of the match, Rangers looked like holding out for all three points courtesy of Tavernier's 30th-minute spot-kick, but Aberdeen salvaged an improbable draw when Anderson gathered possession from a knock-down header on the edge of the box and displayed great composure to place his left-foot finish beyond Allan McGregor.

Aberdeen's Bruce Anderson (obscured) celebrates scoring his side's first goal with team-mates. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Aberdeen's Bruce Anderson (obscured) celebrates scoring his side's first goal with team-mates. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

"We were magnificent," said a defiant Gerrard. "We were very good with 11 men, and even better with 10. Aberdeen had no idea against us. For 93 minutes it was perfect.

"It's frustrating to lose the late goal. Every single player to a man was fantastic. Aberdeen had only one idea and it was to lump it into the box. I'm very pleased." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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