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Aberdeen 0 - 1 Rangers

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Rangers

League Cup Final
Rangers scorers: Tavernier 76

17/12/2023 | KO: 15:00

A single goal was enough to separate the two sides, the Dons coming up short in front of goal as the League Cup slipped through their grasp in the pouring Hampden rain.

There were eight changes from the Aberdeen side that beat Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night, just Kelle Roos, Slobodan Rube i and Stefan Gartenmann starting again. In came skipper Graeme Shinnie, Nicky Devlin, Richard Jensen, Jamie McGrath, Bojan Miovski, Leighton Clarkson, Jonny Hayes and Ester Sokler.

After Rangers won 3-2 at Real Betis in the Europa League on Thursday, they made three changes to their side, Leon Balogun, Dujon Sterling and Todd Cantwell replacing Sam Lammers, who was on the bench, Jose Cifuentes and Ben Davies.

The game got under way with a rain sodden Hampden Park wreathed in smoke from the pre-match pyrotechnics. Rangers made a composed start with good possession, but in the third minute, Lundstram should have been in the book for a wild lunge on McGrath that went nowhere near the ball.

Moments later, Sima won a free-kick with a theatrical fall out on their left. The Dons half cleared it, but Sterling was onto the loose ball and his shot from 20 yards deflected over. Shinnie was lucky to escape a yellow on 10 too, stretching and fouling Cantwell.

Rangers had Aberdeen penned in through the opening 20 minutes of the game but for the most part, the Dons were defending every bit as well as they had against Eintracht Frankfurt a few days earlier, well drilled and keeping their shape. Aberdeen’s first shot came on 21 minutes, Gartenmann coming onto a loose ball 25 yards out and firing straight at Butland.

A clever routine from a Gartenmann throw allowed Clarkson to get the ball in deep, Sokler nodding the ball back to Shinnie whose shot was blocked after 26 minutes. It ended in a corner, Sokler penalised despite Cantwell dragging the shirt pretty much off Gartenmann’s back, well before Sokler’s foul. It was every bit as bad as the shirt-pulling penalty that Gartenmann conceded to Rangers at Pittodrie a few weeks back.

Roos was in sharp action on the half hour, Sima turning away from Rube i inside the penalty area and firing towards the bottom corner, but Roos was down to his right to clutch the ball.

Cantwell needed treatment on 31 after he and Shinnie challenged for the ball on halfway but he was ok to continue after running repairs to his headband. A good touch from Sokler got Aberdeen on the way five minutes later. He floated the ball forward for Devlin who did well to win a corner. Clarkson’s corner in was won by Gartenmann who headed wide of the target.

Rangers had the ball in the net on 40 through McCausland, but play had already been halted after Sima elbowed Devlin in the face as he jumped to win the header back across goal to McCausland. Lundstram and Sokler were booked for arguing in the aftermath – that should have been Lundstram’s second. Devlin required treatment before carrying on.

As we came towards the end of the 45 minutes, Rangers won a right wing corner, Balogun heading wide of goal from Tavernier’s ball in. Up the other end, a Clarkson free-kick curled into the box, Gartenmann on the end of it again, his header drifting across the face of goal and wide.


Goldson and Sokler collided in the 48th minute as the Aberdeen ma went to close down a clearance, the Rangers man needing treatment before resuming. A couple of minutes later, Lundstram hooked a shot wide from distance.

A high boot from Cantwell cleaned Clarkson out on halfway after 51 minutes, but there was no action from the referee. As Rangers poured forward from there, McGrath mistimed a challenge on Barisic, collecting a yellow card. Rangers had started the second half well, Barisic skipping in behind, but again the Dons cleared the danger.

Aberdeen weren’t far away from the first goal though on 54 minutes. Hayes’ persistence brough the ball forward and found McGrath, then on to Devlin who curled the ball through the six-yard box, the ball arcing away from the goal, Sokler unable to manufacture a killer touch at the near post.

Next up was Hayes two minutes later, getting up to a header at the back post after Devlin stood the ball up, his header blocked away by Tavernier.

McCausland threatened next, playing a one-two with Dessers and darting into the box. Devlin came across to put him under pressure as he stabbed at goal from ten yards, Roos across to his left to complete the save, scooping it behind.

Roos had to make a great block on 61, Dessers getting past Rube i out wide and cutting inside, Roos staying big at the near post to keep the ball out. After a cagey first half, the game had certainly come to life now.

Clarkson was in the book on 63 minutes, coming across Cantwell 25 yards out, right in the middle of the goal. Tavernier stepped up, got it over the wall, but Roos at full stretch got to his left to paw the ball behind. Barry Robson took that as his cue to bring on Duk and James McGarry for Sokler and Hayes.

Another Rangers free-kick on 68, this time wide on the edge of the box, Roos flinging himself to his left to tip Barisic’s effort behind. From the corner, Rangers kept possession, Cantwell squaring for Balogun who clipped the ball over the bar from 10 yards out when he should have hit the target.

McGrath was replaced by Dante Polvara after 70 minutes. Aberdeen put some pressure on from there but neither Duk nor Clarkson could quite get a telling shot away. Wright came on for McCausland after 74 minutes.

Two minutes later, Rangers were in front. A cross from Barisic on their left evaded everyone, Tavernier following in at the back post to take a touch and drill the ball into the ground, Roos only able to get a hand on it as it bounced up on its way into the back of the net. Shayden Morris was thrown on in place of Jensen with 10 minutes to go.

Aberdeen came forward, Shinnie skipped past Lundstram who took him out and, yet again, the Rangers man escaped without a card. Lammers and Roofe came on for Cantwell and Dessers in the 82nd minute.

The Dons were on the front foot now, Duk not quite able to get onto a loose ball in the box and then, moments later, hauled down by a shirt pull from Sterling on the wing, the referee giving a goal kick.

A Clarkson corner on 86 minutes caused another scramble in the Rangers box, the Glasgow side looking decidedly nervy, but the ball stubbornly refused to fall for Aberdeen. Shinnie went in the book two minutes later for a foul on Wright. The former Aberdeen man reciprocated in the 89thminute, but received no card.

Duk was on the run again in the 92nd minute, accelerating away for Wright who hauled him down on the edge of the area and this time was booked. Up went Roos for the free-kick, only to be penalised for his jump. Rangers were hanging grimly on now, 11 men in their box, a Devlin shot deflected behind on 95.

One last corner, Roos up again, the ball not quite falling for Duk, Butland onto the ball at the near post before a brawl broke out, a dozen players ending up in the back of the net with the referee watching on. He handed out yellow cards for Rube i , Miovski, Balogun and Barisic then waited for VAR to have its say, before the game continued with no red card administered. And that was that, the Dons’ League Cup challenge over for another year.

4 minutes added at end 1st half.
6+3 minutes added at end 2nd half.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Roos, Devlin, Shinnie, Jensen (Morris 80), Gartenmann, McGrath (Polvara 70), Miovski, Clarkson, Hayes (McGarry 65), Sokler (Lopes 65), Rubezic.

Unused Subs: Doohan, Barron, Duncan, MacDonald, Milne.

Bookings:  Sokler (40),  McGrath (52),  Clarkson (63),  Shinnie (87),  Rubezic (97),  Miovski (97).
Rangers Teamsheet
Butland, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic, Lundstram, Sterling, Cantwell (Lammers 82), Sima, McCausland (Wright 74), Dessers (Roofe 82) Unused Subs: McCrorie, Yilmaz, Souttar, Matondo, Dowell, King

Bookings:  Lundstram 40,   Wright 92,   Balogun 97,   Barisic 97
Attendance: 49,196
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow
Referee: Don Robertson
Next Match
East Kilbride
20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride