Aberdeen 0-1 Rangers: Scottish Premiership season opener – as it happened

Will Unwin on 1 August 2020

Thanks for joining me.

Here is Ewan Murray’s report:

Updated

Balogun looked predictably excellent for Rangers, he will be a key player this season. He was able to walk through the game almost thanks to his ability to read the play.

Full-time

Frankly, the opening game of the new season was pretty poor. Aberdeen had no strikers and Rangers had no need to get out of second gear. Kent’s goal was very well taken and that is all there will be to remember about this game, apart from a late red card.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard celebrates.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard celebrates. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/Pool/Reuters

Updated

90+4 mins: Aribo is slipped through, he opens up his body to take a shot from eight yards, curls it beyond the goalkeeper but Taylor dives in to hook it away.

90+2 mins: Aribo does his best to hold the ball in the corner with some fancy footwork. He is bundled over and then Morelos comes in to give away a foul.

90 mins: Six minutes to be added on here.

88 mins: Now Ferguson has given Goldson a shoulder barge, leaving the Rangers defender in agony. It didn’t look bad but the centre-back seems very uncomfortable.

RED CARD! Considine

86 mins: The Aberdeen defender goes in with two feet, one very much over the top of the ball to absolutely clean out Arfield. Not a good challenge.

Aberdeen defender Andrew Considine slides in on Rangers’ Scott Arfield and is shown a red card.
Aberdeen defender Andrew Considine slides in on Rangers’ Scott Arfield. Photograph: Stephen Dobson/ProSports/Shutterstock
Andrew Considine of Aberdeen reacts to a foul on Scott Arfield of Rangers and is sent off for the challenge.
The players react to Considine’s foul on Scott Arfield and the Aberdeen player receives a red card. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/Pool/Getty Images

Updated

85 mins: Rangers are doing their best to kill time here and that is about all that is happening.

83 mins: Aribo drives to the edge of the area, chucking in a few stepovers and shoulder drops along the way before Ferguson dives in to stop him a split second before he can get a shot away.

81 mins: Arfield should certainly bring greater control in the middle of the park for Rangers, something they have lacked since the break.

I am not sure either goalkeeper has made a save in this half, which might be an indication of the quality.

79 mins: Hedges is the latest man to enter the fray with headband on, as is the style these days.

77 mins: Hagi sends a lovely reverse pass through the Aberdeen defence for Morelos to latch onto but he drags his shot wide via a deflection. That’s the Romanian’s last touch, as he is replaced by Arfield.

Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos shoots.
Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos shoots. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/Pool/Getty Images

Updated

75 mins: Edmondson earns a corner off Tavernier but then Aberdeen lump it into the box quickly towards Taylor who sends a soft header well wide.

McGinn is the next man to cause problems for the Rangers defence as he nicks the ball past Goldson, who trips hi on the left flank. McGinn’s free-kick, however, is cleared by the first man.

73 mins: Rangers are looking a touch more rigid in their formation now, having spent most of the game swapping positions freely.

71 mins: Kennedy and Bryson are off having done nothing for 70 minutes, with McGinn and Campbell coming on to hopefully offer something more productive.

69 mins: Nice work between Jack and Kamara earns the Finnish midfielder space in the box but his cross flashes across the box from out for a throw.

67 mins: Ooof! Morelos takes a lovely touch on the edge of the box before laying it back for the onrushing Hagi strike but his shot takes a nick off a defender and flashes wide for a corner.

65 mins: Edmondson is on for Aberdeen. The 19-year-old replaces poor Bruce Anderson who has had no service all day. Hopefully, the loanee will get a bit more to work with.

63 mins: Rangers could do with a second here. They haven’t threatened much in the second half, though.

61 mins: Balogun is back on his feet after smashing his head off the post. He seems a little dazed by the whole thing but the medics have given him a good checking over.

Someone has hired a forklift truck to ensure they get to see the match from one corner of the ground.

59 mins: Kennedy swings in a cross from the left and it ends with a scramble on the goal-line. Legs are everywhere as Taylor tries to bundle it home but McGregor gets his hands on it. In the end Balogun on the ground behind the net needing the smelling salts.

57 mins: Hayes whips in a cross from the left, only for it to bypass everyone and go out for a throw-in. Poor Anderson though he had a chance there.

55 mins: I say that and then Hagi immediately does something laughable. Morelos finds him with a fine pass, he loses possession but then gets a second crack at it, only to lean back and send a side-footed shot very high and very wide from about 25 yards.

53 mins: Hagi has already shown a couple of brilliant touches in the second half. If Gerrard can get the best out him consistently, then they certainly have a player on their hands who could potentially lead them to a title.

51 mins: Aberdeen send a long ball for Anderson to chase but Balogun reads the danger and gets across in time to intercept. Poor Anderson has had a miserable afternoon of chasing lost causes.

49 mins: Aberdeen swing in a free-kick from the right but that man Aribo is there to head it clear. The ball makes its way to Morelos who is bundled over by Bryson for his own amusement.

47 mins: Aribo and Ferguson have a bit of a tussle in the corner, which the Aberdeen man wins. Not much else happening.

Second half

Here we go again!

Aberdeen will be looking to press Rangers more after the break but that could leave gaps and the visitors certainly have the players to exploit them. Tricky.

It’s the FA Cup final later ...

Half-time

Rangers have been far the better team but haven’t really troubled Lewis apart from the goal. Aberdeen have troubled no one at all.

45 mins: Ojo is booked after catching Hagi on the top of the foot. The Aberdeen man certainly left his foot in there needless.

43 mins: Kent tries to dribble through the entire Aberdeen defence but he takes a heavy touch, allowing Hernandez to come in an clear the danger.

41 mins: Aberdeen have decided to go a bit more direct to unsettle the Rangers defence and give poor Anderson something to do. Sadly, the results of said tactic are underwhelming.

39 mins: Considine smacks the ball against Morelos and it goes behind. The officials inexplicably give Rangers a corner which comes to nothing after the striker scuffs a shot wide.

37 mins: Hagi gets the ball in the corner and performs have impressive flick to set up Barisic for the cross but the execution is poor. I am not looking forward to a replay of the flick.

35 mins: Balogun shows the other side to his game, as he drives all the way to the edge of the Aberdeen box with the ball at his feet. The Nigerian overruns it but, luckily, a kind Aberdeen defender trips him just outside the area to gift Rangers a dangerous free-kick. Tavernier, however, swings it high and wide.

33 mins: Hagi swings first time at the ball 20 yards from goal but Lewis reads the strike and gets down to hold it well.

31 mins: Hayes nutmegs Morales. That should irk the striker. He will probably get sent off in five minutes for a reckless challenge.

29 mins: Aberdeen are more progressive now and they certainly need to be as before the Rangers opener they didn’t even look like they wanted to attack. Ojo collects the ball 25 yards from goal but his strike is easily held by McGregor.

Aberdeen’s Funso Ojo has a pop from distance.
Aberdeen’s Funso Ojo has a pop from distance. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/Pool/Reuters

Updated

27 mins: Rangers break on Aberdeen as Hagi slipped the ball to Aribo, who returns the favour but the Romanian gets it stuck under his feet in the area, allowing Aberdeen to win it back and clear.

Adam Preston emails to say: “The Rangers front four seem to be rotating positions and playing more freely than last season. This counteracts the predictability that was a big problem The bad news is Morelos is a less than convincing false 9. Well.... He’s just this minute set up a goal.”

This front four is an exciting proposition. They could do plenty of damage this season.

25 mins: Barisic swings in a free-kick from the left for Rangers to attack but Balogun gets underneath the ball, heading it straight up in the air for Lewis to calmly collect.

Rangers’ Leon Balogun beats Bruce Anderson of Aberdeen to a header.
Rangers’ Leon Balogun beats Bruce Anderson of Aberdeen to a header. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/Pool/Getty Images

Updated

23 mins: Rangers have had just 72% possession thus far, so thoroughly deserve their lead. Do Aberdeen have a response? Probably not.

GOAL! Aberdeen 0-1 Rangers (Kent, 21)

Morelos turns with the ball on the halfway line and sends it through for Kent to chase, he gets away from the defenders and then calmly slots the ball to Lewis’ right and into the bottom corner.

Rangers’ Ryan Kent slots the ball home to open the scoring.
Rangers’ Ryan Kent slots the ball home to open the scoring. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/Pool/Reuters

Updated

20 mins: Aberdeen earn a free-kick in a dangerous position on the right but Rangers head it clear to Ferguson, who lashes it well over the bar.

18 mins: Hagi earns Rangers a corner after nice interplay with Kent. Tavernier swings it in from the left, only to see Lewis punch it away from another corner. Hagi takes the second short, gets it back but slams his cross into the sidenetting.

16 mins: The camera pans to injured strikers Cosgrove and Main in the stands, with one passing his phone to the other. Probably not the best idea in a pandemic, lads.

14 mins: A nice move from Rangers sees Jack play the ball into Barisic down the left for the defender to cross to Aribo but he slips after his first touch, meaning he can only get a mediocre shot away from a horizontal position.

12 mins: If the opening stages of this game have taught us anything, it is that Rangers are considerably better at football than Aberdeen. To be honest, I knew this beforehand. It looks like a training game of attack v defence and will continue like this for the rest of the match.

10 mins: I have gone against this option, as it irks me.

8 mins: Aberdeen have barely had a kick. Maybe the lack of a crowd has really lowered the testosterone levels for the hosts. At times it looks like Aberdeen are playing with a flat back six.

6 mins: Aribo spins Considine superbly on the halfway thanks to a lovely touch, he slips in Morales but his cross is blocked. Aribo is looking lively.

Goldson almost finds Kent with a long ball over the top but the pass has a little too much on it for the former Liverpool man.

4 mins: Hagi and Aribo look like they are floating around behind Morales as they look to get on the ball. If they do get chance to run at the defence, they could devastate Aberdeen.

2 mins: Rangers have kept hold of the ball for the opening two minutes here. Not that they have done much with it thus far.

Kick-off

Peep! Peep! Peep! Let the season begin.

All McCoist on comms. What a treat for the lads.

Former player Ally McCoist looks on as players warm up.
Former player Ally McCoist looks on as players warm up. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/Pool/PA Images

Updated

Gerrard says things should be a bit calmer on the pitch due to the lack of fans on the “terraces” and he hopes Rangers can use it to their advantage. It might mean Morelos won’t get wound up as quickly, too.

Balogun did not get much of a chance at Brighton but proved himself with some cracking performances for Wigan. Getting him in at Rangers is a cracking bit of business.

It is now raining in Aberdeen. Good news for football, bad news for anyone in the area thinking summer had begun.

Neil McCann has arrived ...

Former player Neil McCann has his temperature checked before entering the stadium.
Former player Neil McCann has his temperature checked before entering the stadium. Photograph: Reuters

Some Ianis Hagi to get the tastebuds tingling ...

Alfredo Morelos starts for Rangers today. The striker has been linked with a move away from Ibrox, with Lille supposedly leading the chase, but Steven Gerrard says he is a long way from departing.

“I think this will work itself out if there is a bid that’s big enough, that the board want to accept, we’ll make that decision when it comes,” Gerrard said. “At the moment we’re nowhere near that so Alfredo is still a Rangers player. He needs to focus on that and continue contributing goals like he always has done for the last two years.”

Get in the mood for the new season with Ewan Murray ...

All precautions are being taken in Aberdeen.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, wearing a face mask, arrives.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, wearing a face mask, arrives. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

Starting lineups

Aberdeen: Lewis, Hernandez, Taylor, McKenna, Considine, Ojo, Ferguson, Bryson, Hayes, Kennedy, Anderson

Subs: Cerny, Logan, Hoban, Campbell, McGeouch, McLennan, Hedges, McGinn, Edmonson

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic, Kamara, Jack, Aribo, Hagi, Kent, Morelos

Subs: McLaughlin, Bassey, Edmundson, Helander, Murphy, Patterson, Barker, Stewart, Arfield

Preamble

Good morning!

Scottish football is back! It seems to have creeped up on us after five months without a ball being kicked in anger north of the border.

Has much changed? Not really. Celtic will almost certainly win the league and Rangers will battle against themselves for second place. It is the hope that kills you, so we might as well accept the situation now.

Aberdeen finished fourth last time around, so will be hoping to go one better this season. It’s good to have an aim. Derek McInnes has signed Jonny Hayes and Ryan Edmondson to boost their charge for third and they could make their debuts in the sweltering 18C heat at Pittodrie.

Steven Gerrard has secured the services of Ianis Hagi on a permanent basis, which is pretty exciting for Rangers fans. The Romanian has the quality to turn games in an instant, something that could at least help close the gap with Celtic. The arrival of experienced Nigeria international Leon Balogun, should also be a great boost, having impressed on loan at Wigan last season.

In more galling news, there will be five substitutions available to the managers this season in Scotland. Considering last season was shutdown prematurely, these players should be pretty rested but still the absurdity will be allowed. How tedious.

To the fitba!

Kick-off: 12.30pm BST

Updated

Latest football headlines

Latest Football News