MATCHES between Aberdeen and Rangers are rarely, if ever, tame affairs. But this encounter, even by the standards of this famous fixture, was especially incendiary. It will live long in the memory of those involved and present.

At the end of 90 coruscating minutes, Steven Gerrard’s side, courtesy of an Alfredo Morelos double, a James Tavernier penalty and an injury-time Jermain Defoe effort, took the three points. Derek McInnes’s side gave their all and scored twice through Sam Cosgrove. But their four game undefeated run against their fierce rivals came to an end in spectacular fashion.

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No quarter was given throughout by either side and both finished with just 10 men on the park after Scott McKenna and Morelos were red carded in the second-half. So what did we learn from the extraordinary events at Pittodrie?


It was indeed. It was a great advertisement for Scottish football. In fact, there may not be a better game all season. It had six goals, two penalties and two orderings off. It was fantastic entertainment for those in the 19,190-strong crowd and those watching at home alike.

Morelos gave Rangers the lead in the 20th minute. Ryan Kent picked up the ball just outside the Aberdeen box and muscled his way past Shay Logan before firing a powerful right foot shot at goal. Joe Lewis did well to deny him, but he palmed the ball straight to the feet of the centre forward who made no mistake.

The visitors were only in front for 11 minutes. Cosgrove levelled after good work by Greg Stewart out wide and Lewis Ferguson. The latter unleashed a ferocious first-time volley that ricocheted off Connor Goldson and Tavernier. The ball fell to the striker who had the simplest of tasks to net.

Cosgrove has been in a rich vein of form. He has, though, some way to go to draw level with Morelos in the scoring charts. The Colombian took his tally for the 2018/19 campaign to 23 just five minutes later. He coolly placed a left foot shot into the bottom left corner after good work by Ryan Jack and Kent.

The Aberdeen players and supporters were incensed when match official Bobby Madden awarded Rangers a free-kick when Morelos went to ground after a challenge by Andrew Considine. Their mood failed to improve when the referee gave a penalty moments later.

Goldson got on the end of Tavernier’s delivery and his header struck McKenna’s outstretched arm. The Rangers right back and captain stepped up to take it and converted. It was quite a 45 minutes of football.

The second-half started as the first had finished – with a penalty being awarded. Tavernier stupidly wrestled Ferguson to the ground at a Gary Mackay-Steven. Cosrgove drilled his attempt down the middle and beyond Allan McGregor. It was his 14th goal of the season and his 12th in as many games.

There was a coming together between McKenna and Morelos in the 54th minute. The centre half kicked out after the front man had stamped down on him. One the dust had settled, both men were given the ultimate sanction.

Defoe came on for Daniel Candeais and sewed up the victory in the fifth minute of added-on time after being supplied by Tavernier. It capped quite an evening.


This has not been a good few days, or season for that matter, for Scotland’s referees. But Bobby Madden did them proud last night. He got both penalty calls and both red cards right.

Aberdeen could have no complaints about the spot kick that Madden awarded Rangers two minutes before half-time. McKenna had his left arm raised upwards when Goldson headed the ball inwards. It was impossible for the Scotland defender to argue it had been in a natural position.

The same was true of the penalty the home team were given early in the second half. The fact that Tavernier and his team mates didn’t protest the decision too vociferously told its own story.

Then came the flashpoint involving McKenna and Morelos. Once again, neither man could argue with their fate. There is no chance of the man responsible for keeping order being demoted after this assured display.


This game summed up the Colombian striker – brilliant one minute, utterly bonkers the next.

He converted both of his goals, the second one especially, superbly. But his discipline is seriously lacking. He stamped down on McKenna after the defender had cleared the ball and had to walk, after receiving medical attention for a kick to the face, as a result. It was the fourth time he had been red carded this season. Will the temperamental South American ever learn? Probably not.


That Rangers moved five points clear of Aberdeen in second spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership and remained just six points adrift of their city rivals Celtic in the title race. Psychologically, it was an important result and will give them huge self-belief for the remainder of the season. They performed well in what was a must-win game.


Graeme Shinnie and Co. may have failed to triumph against their opponents for the first time in four meeting this season, but they acquitted themselves admirably and fought valiantly to the final whistle. They will be hurting after putting so much into proceedings and not having having anything to show for their endeavours. But the team who have finished runners-up in the last four seasons shouldn't be discounted.