Aberdeen suffer 2-1 defeat to Rangers in Neil Warnock’s first game in charge

Aberdeen suffer 2-1 defeat to Rangers in Neil Warnock’s first game in charge

Aberdeen suffer 2-1 defeat to Rangers in Neil Warnock’s first game in charge

Neil Warnock’s tenure with Aberdeen began at Ibrox with a close 2-1 loss to Rangers.

The Reds had to endure prolonged periods of first-half pressure after Rangers took the lead through Rabbi Matondo

on minute seven, until star striker Bojan Miovski leveled the score at the end of the half.

Although Warnock’s side succeeded in frustrating the home side, the Dons’ resolve was eventually broken on 73

minutes when Todd Cantwell struck on the rebound.

Aberdeen suffer 2-1 defeat to Rangers in Neil Warnock’s first game in charge
Aberdeen suffer 2-1 defeat to Rangers in Neil Warnock’s first game in charge

Rangers had Dujon Sterling red carded in the latter stages which offered renewed hope, however Warnock’s men

were unable to fashion a late response.

The Reds now sit ninth in the Premiership as a result of the loss, but the new Dons manager will have something to

cheer about as he approaches the rest of the season.

According to Warnock, the allure of leading the Reds in such a big match at Ibrox accelerated his ascent to the position of head coach.

As he approached his 20th managerial appointment, with a record 1,626 games in English football behind him, the

75-year-old was embarking on a fresh chapter north of the border.

With Rangers knowing a victory by a margin of three goals would move them to the top of the Premiership, it was the

sort of underdog tale which eight-time promotion winner Warnock was always going to relish.

Two changes were made to Warnock’s starting lineup from the team that drew 1-1 with Celtic on Saturday. Leighton

Clarkson and Jonny Hayes were recalled in lieu of Killian Phillips and Dante Polvara.

With Rangers taking the lead after just seven minutes, Warnock’s start was far from ideal. After Hayes made a

mistake, Ross McCausland was able to shoot and hit the goal, but Kelle Roos was unable to stop it. Matondo then

hammered the rebound high into the net.

Aberdeen’s first effort of note arrived on 19 minutes when Jamie McGrath relentlessly took command of a loose ball

before working his way into the box, but his effort lacked enough purchase to trouble Jack Butland at his near post.

A fine chance fell to the Gers just after the half-hour mark when some neat play involving Cyriel Dessers and

McCausland eventually led to an opening for James Tavernier, who prodded wide.

It appeared that the Dons would be content to accept their one-goal deficit at halftime as Roos stopped Matondo’s strong strike and Dessers missed the turn.

The Reds quickly leveled the score, though, and in the best possible way. Miovski showed power to outmuscle

Connor Goldson and slip past Butland to score his 20th goal of the year after timing his run to perfection to meet

Connor Barron’s ball over the top.

It brought the Reds unexpected parity which they looked to build on in the early stages of the second half.

Rangers lacked the same punch in the early stages of the second half, to the increasing frustration of the home

crowd, while chants of “Neil Warnock’s Barmy Army” broke out from the visiting end.

The Dons had an opportunity to counter just before the hour mark when Leighton Clarkson was released down the

right, but his lofted ball to the far post was just too high for Miovski.

As the game approached the hour mark, Rangers started to apply more pressure, and Roos produced a brilliant save

with his foot to deny Lawrence in a packed penalty box.

After 70 minutes, Warnock made his first substitution: Polvara replaced the worn-out Hayes.

Three minutes later, though, and the Dons were behind once more. Even though Lawrence’s effort was far more

forceful this time, Roos was unable to hang onto it as Cantwell was quicker off the mark

than the defense to tuck in the rebound.

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