RANGERS came from behind to claim a draw against Aberdeen at Pittodrie this evening.
After falling behind to a Kenny McLean penalty early-on, Ross McCrorie popped-up to bundle home an equaliser in the second half.
Having performed so well from the bench against Kilmarnock on Saturday, Ross McCrorie was handed a starting jersey here in the Granite City this evening, taking the place of Jason Cummings – Cummings having gone off ill at half-time in the weekend win.
For the opening 13 minutes, it was all Rangers. Playing some crisp football on the good surface at Pittodrie, they had the home side pinned back in their own half, and passed-up a decent chance to take the lead.
Some excellent work from Daniel Candeias saw him play in Alfredo Morelos. From an angle, the Colombian didn’t have much to hit, and indeed, found only the body of Joe Lewis who had advanced to further reduce his goalscoring area.
Gers continued to dominate, until from nowhere, Aberdeen forced a pair of corner kicks. Both were defended well by the visitors, but from the second, Ryan Christie went down under the challenge of Morelos inside the area.
TV replays showed Morelos clearly took the ball, but referee Steven McLean pointed to the spot, much to the incredulity of the Rangers players.
Their protests were waved away, and Kenny McLean stepped-up to despatch the penalty, sending Jak Alnwick the wrong way.
McLean came close again soon after with a wicked effort from distance which cannoned off the crossbar, before Graeme Dorrans’ evening was ended prematurely through injury, necessitating him to be replaced by Sean Goss.
While chances were at a premium, anything that did come seemed to fall the way of the Dons, and they had another opportunity five minutes before the break, with McLean shooting straight at Alnwick on the half-volley inside the area.
Rangers needed a response in the second half, and while, territorially anyway, they had a little more of the play, they were struggling to open up the Aberdeen defence on a regular basis.
That was until James Tavernier picked out Morelos at the back post with a sumptuous ball, but he could only direct his first-time header straight at Lewis.
Then, out of pretty much nothing on the 63rd minute, Gers drew themselves level. A looped Morelos cross into the area was headed upwards by Scott McKenna, and in the air, he was challenged by Ross McCrorie.
McCrorie’s touch on the ball took it beyond the stranded Joe Lewis, and it nestled in the back of the net to send the fantastic band of away supporters into uproar.
That goal gave Gers a massive lift, and from their next attack, they came so close to taking the lead.
Led by Jamie Murphy, a swarm of blue shirts charged towards goal, before Murphy slipped Morelos in down the right channel. His shot looked goalbound, but for a last-ditch challenge from McKenna to send the ball out for a corner.
Sean Goss then fired a decent chance over the bar following a series of blocked efforts inside the Dons’ penalty area, while Greg Stewart shot similarly over the target from a similar position seconds later.
Gers continued to push for a winner, but could find no way through. If results elsewhere go in their favour, the Light Blues could still claim second spot with victory at Hibernian on Sunday.
RANGERS: Alnwick; Tavernier, Martin, Bates, Halliday; McCrorie, Holt (Cummings, 60); Candeias, Dorrans (Goss, 33), Murphy; Morelos.
SUBS: Kelly, Hodson, Rossiter, Alves, Docherty.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Logan, Ball (Stewart, 72), O’Connor, Considine, Shinnie, McLean, Christie, McKenna, Mackay-Steven (Rooney 90), Cosgrove (May, 79).
SUBS: Woodman, Arnason, Reynolds, Wright.
REFEREE: Steven McLean.
ATTENDANCE: 17, 745