Aberdeen restored their credibility at Ibrox this afternoon with a great display that earned them a deserved draw. This was the Dons fifth successive shut out in the league in a campaign that has seen them fail to concede a goal since the opening 45 minutes of the season. The second half performance in particular was impressive and the young players certainly showed manager McGhee that they can stand up and be counted. The senior players also produced a decent performance and the manager will be looking for this on a consistent basis. Aberdeen also had a couple of chances and on another day they could easily have stolen all three points and it would not have been undeserved.
Following a minute's applause for David Will, who passed away this week, the game started with Charlie Mulgrew being harshly booked in the opening minute. Naismith had looked offside prior to winning the foul, but the set play caused a few problems for the Dons as Langfield fumbled the ball before it was eventually cleared. Whittaker went down rather easily in the 5th minute under a challenge from Paton, but referee Brines was unimpressed.
Miller won a free kick from Ifil a minute later and a deflected header from Bougherra produced the first corner of the match and it was easily defended by Fyvie. The home side were dominating the play at this stage as the Dons struggled to create anything up front. Miller had a half chance in the 9th minute, but put too much on his pass to Pawlett. A second Rangers corner in the 11th minute was well gathered by Langfield as he quickly released Pawlett. Once again the move broke down when Foster delivered a poor pass forward.
A good challenge from Kerr halted Miller before the same player won a cheap free kick from Ifil on the edge of the box. Another corner followed as the home side increased the pressure, but on the 15th minute good play from Paton set up a chance at the other end. Unfortunately there were no takers as his cross came into the Rangers box. Paton won a free kick three minutes later sparking a good passage of play. Rangers then broke quickly and Langfield produced a fine save as he turned a Rothen shot round the post.
A slip up from Ifil almost allowed Miller to score, but Foster did well to deflect the effort wide. From the corner Naismith fired wide as Rangers started to look dangerous. McDonald did well to track McCulloch as the Rangers player headed wide, then a long ball from Langfield was flicked on by Miller in the 33rd minute, but McDonald hit his effort high over the bar. McCulloch was penalised for leading with his elbow as he challenged Fyvie, but referee Brines was happy to keep his card in his pocket.
A minute later a cross from Mulgrew went too long with several Aberdeen players available in the centre. At the other end Rangers won another corner, but Considine hooked the ball clear before Lee Miller won another challenge, but failed to find that final killer ball. With five minutes remaining Rangers were awarded a free kick when it looked as if it should have gone the Dons way. Langfield was called into action as he tipped the ball over the bar from Rothen. A minute later another blunder from Ifil gave Novo a chance, but again Langfield saved the day.
The Dons troubles grew as Ifil failed to recover from the challenge and had to be replaced by Duff. The Dons appeared to take an eternity to make the substitution and the ten men had to defend an attack then a corner before the substitution was made in the 44th minute. Foster moved to Centre half as Duff slotted into right back. The Dons did well to retain possession for the closing minutes of the half and in the final seconds McDonald forced a fine save from McGregor as the midfielder got on the end of a cross from Considine.
Rangers were forced to do some defending early in the half and in the 47th minute Aberdeen were denied advantage as the referee pulled play back with Paton going forward. A minute later Aberdeen won their first corner of the match and Considine hit a decent shot inches over the bar. McCulloch was finally booked in the 49th minute as Paton took an elbow, but the Dons failed to capitalise on the free kick with the home defence looking fragile.
Two minutes later Pawlett headed a Fyvie cross wide then Rangers won a corner at the other end as the home side picked up the play. Fyvie then went on a great run before being halted by a knock to the head on the edge of the Rangers area. To the frustration of the red army no decision was given and Mr. Brines was eventually forced to halt play as the sixteen year old struggled with the head knock. Naismith was then booked for a foul on Fyvie followed by a kick of the ball aimed at the grounded teenager.
Aberdeen were forced into some desperate defending on the hour mark before Paton created a chance at the other end that was cut out by McGregor. A minute later Ranger won a free kick in a dangerous position, but Langfield won the ball comfortably. The natives were getting restless and the Dons nemesis, Kris Boyd replaced Naismith in the 63rd minute. Two minutes later Aberdeen won a free kick, but the ball into the box failed to find a red shirt.
Paton did well in the 69th minute to win the Dons second corner of the match. Mulgrew swung the ball in and Considine turned the ball inches wide with McGregor beaten. This was the closest the Dons had come to making the breakthrough this half. Three minutes later Aberdeen were reminded what Boyd can do as the striker turned the ball inches wide. Seconds later the striker was flagged offside before he went down very easily under an innocuous challenge from Foster.
Novo then smashed the ball off the post before Aberdeen raced up the field and won a corner. The attack ended when McGregor made an easy save from McDonald. Duff won a corner in the 78th minute and McGregor was forced to punch the ball from the head of Paton before the Dons forced another two corners. Before the second corner was taken Maguire replaced Pawlett and the substitute collected the ball at the edge of the box, but failed to get behind the shot.
Maguire produced some good play in the 82nd minute and found McDonald in the Rangers area, but he failed to produce a finish. Rothen then went down rather easily to win a free kick and from the set play Rangers won a corner and the ball was headed over the bar. Rangers then made a double substitution as they looked to find the elusive goal that could decide this match. Duff was booked for a challenge on Fleck after a poorly timed tackle in the 85th minute before Mackie replaced the impressive Michael Paton in the 83rd minute.
A Mulgrew cross in the 90th minute needed a runner at the near post, but McGregor was able to cut it out. Not for the first time Rothen went down easily for another free kick as the fourth official indicated 3 minutes of injury time. Novo and Boyd got in each other's way and let the Dons off the hook. Novo looked to con the referee as he went down easily in a challenge with Mulgrew before the referee penalised Mark Kerr for high feet in a very dangerous position. Duff appealed to the referee for another elbow by McCulloch, but nothing was given. Rangers then won a final corner in the fourth minute of injury time, but the ball went wide and Aberdeen gained a deserved draw and on another day they could have nicked it.