Refreshed Rangers’ new boys power past Dons
Rangers 2-0 Aberdeen
Graeme Murty’s new-look Rangers showed Derek McInnes what he was missing as they claimed a 2-0 win over Aberdeen at Ibrox.
The Dons boss rejected the chance to replace Pedro Caixinha last month but, having been handed the reins, Murty has wasted little time boosting his squad with four January signings.
And against a side containing new recruits Sean Goss, Jamie Murphy and Russell Martin — with Jason Cummings appearing off the bench — Aberdeen found themselves out-gunned.
Alfredo Morelos bagged his 13th goal of the season before James Tavernier’s second-half penalty ensured Gers moved back above McInnes’ men into second.
Rangers had limped into the winter break with a mounting injury list but the time off seemed to do them good and they started brightly, coming close 12 minutes in. Goss’ corner was laid back by Martin for Josh Windass, whose strike took a nick on its way through before hitting the post and bouncing into Joe Lewis’ grasp.
The Dons got lucky again on 20 minutes when Morelos somehow failed to head home from Daniel Candeias’ back-post cross.
Aberdeen finally got themselves into shooting territory on 28 minutes as Kenny McLean drove through Gers’ midfield before slipping in Gary Mackay-Steven, but Wes Foderingham had raced from his line to block.
And its importance was underlined three minutes later as Gers took the lead. Candeias and Tavernier were proving a handful for the Pittodrie men and combined again, with Tavernier’s ball finding Morelos lurking and this time Rangers’ top scorer made no mistake as he nodded home.
The lead was almost cancelled out immediately as Gers switched off to allow McLean in but again Foderingham was well-placed.
Morelos was guilty of another bad miss on 58 minutes. Martin released Declan John with a superb ball in behind the Dons defence, Lewis could only flap at the full-back’s cross and, with the goal gaping, the striker sliced into the side-netting.
Cummings got his introduction on 70 minutes as he was treated to a deafening roar after replacing Morelos, and the home support were cheering again on 75 minutes as Rangers won a penalty.
Tavernier slipped Windass in on goal but, just as he looked to pull the trigger, he was clattered into by Lewis. The keeper came off worse but referee Bobby Madden still pointed to the spot.
There was a five-minute delay as Lewis was stretchered off, but Tavernier kept his cool to fire past understudy stopper Danny Rogers to secure the points.
Belfast Telegraph Digital