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Rangers down 10-man Aberdeen to delay Celtic title party

Steven Gerrard’s side are now guaranteed a top-two finish.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard.
Image: Ian Rutherford

JAMES TAVERNIER SCORED twice from the penalty spot as Rangers beat Aberdeen 2-0 at Ibrox on Sunday to keep arch-rivals Celtic waiting to retain their Scottish Premiership title.

Victory saw Rangers gain a measure of revenge over a Dons side who dumped Steven Gerrard’s men out of both domestic cup competitions this season.

Defeat meant Aberdeen – who ended the match a man down after Andrew Considine received a second yellow card for conceding the second penalty – can no longer catch the ‘Gers in the race for second place.

This result also saw Rangers prolong the title race, with champions-elect Celtic nine points clear with nine to play for.

Before kick-off, there was a minute’s applause in memory of Celtic great and former Dons boss Billy McNeill following his death earlier this week.

Derek McInnes’ Dons almost took a 13th-minute lead when Sam Cosgrove headed wide from a free-kick.

At the other end, Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewos made a brilliant save to deny veteran forward Jermain Defoe after the Englishman had been played in by Scott Arfield. 

Lewis then saved well from both Tavernier and Steven Davis.

But three minutes into the second half, Rangers went ahead to the delight of the home crowd.

From a corner, Lewis Ferguson got tangled up with Defoe before tripping over Nikola Katic as he stood on the Croatian’s foot.

Referee Don Robertson had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Rangers captain Tavernier was equally emphatic as he sent Lewis the wrong way with his penalty.

Defoe missed a close-range chance to double Rangers’ lead but it did not prove a costly error as a second penalty, 10 minutes from time, sealed victory 

Katic was again involved as Davis sent in another corner, with Aberdeen incensed at what they thought was the ‘soft’ way he went down after catching Considine’s flailing arm to the face.

Aberdeen’s anger intensified when Considine was booked and thus sent off following an earlier caution towards the end of the first half.

Tavernier, however, kept his cool to again beat Lewis from the spot.

- © AFP 2019

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