A keenly-contested and exciting match was played at Pittodrie on Saturday, when the ground team had as their opponents the redoubtable Glasgow Rangers. About 7000 spectators witnessed the game. The pitch was wet and heavy, but there was no wind, so that the winning of the toss by Aberdeen was of little advantage. The Aberdeen team was considerably weakened by the absence of Halkett and Henry Low, the two crack half-backs, although there was only one change from the eleven that beat the Hearts - Robertson, in place of Henry Low. Tom Ruddiman, of Aberdeen, was centre forward for the Rangers. The teams were:-
Aberdeen: Macfarlane; Boyle, Gault; W. Low, Strang, Robertson; Robertson, Edgar, McNicol, McAulay, Lennie.
Rangers: Sinclair; Walker, Craig; Gray, Stark, May; Rankine, Kivlichen, Ruddiman, Kyle, Smith.
Referee - Mr. Neilson, Thornliebank.
Rangers made headway at the start from a neat pass to the left by Ruddiman, but Wilfred Low intercepted, and placed to McAulay, who tricked several opponents, and passed on to McNicol, but the heavy, slow-moving centre forward failed to pick up the pass, and walker punted out. The ball was returned, and a bye resulted. Aberdeen, at the start, were very aggressive, and when Robertson, from a neat place by Low, sprinted past Gray, and sent in a low, fast shot, it looked as if Aberdeen were to open the scoring early. Sinclair, although charged by McNicol, caught the ball on the line and affected a clever save. Solid work by the Rangers' half-backs let the forwards up the field, and Rankine and Kivlichen were set on a run westwards when Wilfred Low slipped in between them and passed neatly to Edgar. A raid by the Rangers' forward line was rendered abortive by Macfarlane, who ran out from his goal, picked up, and punted the ball well out. Back came the blues, and Rankine, completely beating Gault on the run, put the ball across the Aberdeen goal. Macfarlane, with admirable judgement, sprang out, and nipped the ball from between Ruddiman and Kyle, and averted the danger brilliantly. Rangers, thanks to the splendid half-back play, kept up a keen pressure, and a shakiness on the part of Robertson and Gault, who found in Rankine and Kivlichen a lively pair to watch, was not at all promising for Aberdeen. Gault, to beat Rankine, had to give away a corner, and the ball being got away out of the danger zone, Edgar, by clever manoeuvring, drew out the defence and slipped out to Robertson who ran down the line at top speed, and centred. Alas! McNicol stopped the ball with his back to Sinclair, and ere he could get moved round the leather was banged away from his toes. Then for a time the Rangers' half-backs and forwards, by pretty combination led the Aberdeen defence a dance, and as the result there was a good deal of wild, aimless rushing, which in Glasgow would have made the crowd merry. Gowie Robertson came to the rescue of the Aberdeen backs at the critical moment, when, by his speed, he was able to run back and intercept a cross from Rankine. From a 'cute pass by Edgar, was as lively as an eel, McAulay, without hesitation, drove low and forcibly for goal, but Sinclair was on the spot and smartly picked up and kicked out. After Strang, who playing a hard, bustling game, had essayed a shot at goal, the Rangers' forwards, led by Ruddiman, burst off on the run, but Gault was too much for the ex-Aberdeen centre. Gault placed the ball to Lennie, who, tackled, tipped it to McAulay. The raid resulted in a corner. Gault was prominent for at the other end for dashing heading, and again the Aberdeen forwards rushed down on the Rangers' goal, Sinclair having to leave his line to put the ball out of danger's way. Edgar was tricky, and his feeding of Robertson was at this point a feature of the game. Aberdeen were again pressing, and Sinclair was once more called upon to show his ability as a sprinter. A 'cute move by Edgar and McAulay, who feinted at the ball and allowed it to roll on, let Gowie Robertson in with a deceiving shot with the outside of his right foot, and Sinclair just got his hands on the ball and no more in time to clear. Aberdeen's aggressiveness was somewhat spoiled by McNicol, who was showing his usual airy contempt for the off-side rule. So on the game was waged on equal terms, Aberdeen and Rangers pressing in turn. Edgar, from the goal line, with a remarkable screw, struck the side of the net. Walker was not too particular in his stopping of Lennie, and threw his weight and his legs at the little fellow in a manner that was more forcible than the rules of Association Football warrant. Hard pressed by Lennie, he gave away a corner, and from the kick McAulay headed over. A dashing run by the Rangers' forward line, who at midfield had nobody but the two backs and the goalkeeper between them and the net, caused the Aberdeen supporters to quake, but Gowie Robertson again put his speed to the test, and managed to beat Rankine. At the other end several of Robertson's shots, dead on the mark, tried Sinclair severely, but the Rangers' goalkeeper was unbeatable. One of the best shots of the first half was from Strang's foot, the centre half with a low fast drive causing Sinclair to throw himself full length in order to turn the ball round the upright. It was a great save, and could not have been done, but at the expense of a corner. Sinclair fisted out from the corner kick. Boyle, who was easily the best back on the field, caused some amusement by the way he robbed Ruddiman of the ball, and brushed the Rangers' Centre aside. Macfarlane at the other end also had his share of trying work during several periods of severe pressure by the Rangers. He sprang out of his goal and pounced upon a low cross from Smith after the backs were beaten, but a few minutes later, in clearing a low shot, he drove the ball against Ruddiman's chest, but luckily he caught it on the rebound. A visit to the other end by the Aberdeen forwards ended and Robertson again causing Sinclair to measure his length on the ground, the way in which the Ranger clutched the ball on the line, regained his feet, and got the ball away, marking him as a goalkeeper of the very first water. Sinclair, later, was clean beaten by a tricky overhead kicked by Edgar, but the ball past the upright a few inches on the wrong side. Macfarlane at the other goal, daringly intercepted a cross from Smith, and shortly after a keenly-contested first half ended with no scoring.
The play in the second half was on similar lines to that of the first half, Aberdeen and Rangers pressing turn and turn about. Gault brought down Rankine rather violently close in, and from the free kick the Aberdeen defence was sorely tried, the ball being scraped away from a corner kick. For a time the Rangers forced the pace, and Smith finished a brilliant run by trickily screwing the ball swiftly upwards and round the post, when it seemed to be rolling over the line. Macfarlane was not to be caught napping, however, and his smart save was every whit as clever as Smith's manoeuvre. Macfarlane fisted the ball away in a scrimmage following a corner kick and a few seconds later, on the ball being returned, he kicked the ball from the very toes of a Ranger, who was in the act of shooting. A mistake by Boyle gave away a corner, and at last the Rangers were driven back, Lennie running single-handed, through the whole Rangers' defence. He passed three opponents in succession, and each, after being beaten, tried to trip him up. Staggering and recovering every time, Lennie held on his way only to have his feet whipped from under him, and inside the penalty area. The indignant crowd yelled "Penalty!" But the referee, on Lennie recovering, threw up the ball. Following on this, the Rangers were forced to act on the defensive, Sinclair saving from Edgar, after which McAulay shot high. Stark twisted his thigh in charging Robertson, and the game was stopped for a few minutes. On resuming, Robertson and McNicol had changed places, Captain Macfarlane evidently thinking that Robertson's speed might bring about what McNicol's lack of speed had prevented. Edgar, from far out, gave Sinclair a hot shot to hold. Aberdeen kept up the pressure, and Edgar, dashing to the goal line with a marvellous screw, popped the ball into the goal. Craig, standing near the upright in an awkward position, elbowed the ball over the line, and a penalty was claimed. After consulting the linesman, a penalty was given, and McNicol with a low shot, which deceived Sinclair, place the ball in the net, amid the frantic cheers of the excited spectators. This goal put new vigour into the game, and both ends were visited in turn. Boyle after cleverly passing several opponents in great style was grassed, but nothing came of the free kick. Kyle, whose wonderful dribbling and dash made him a dangerous man at close quarters, almost got the equaliser with a raking shot which flashed past the post a few inches on the wrong side. But the equaliser was not long in coming. A clever combined run by the Rangers' forwards ended in Rankine sending in a grounder which Macfarlane, owing to his feet slipping as he threw himself full length on the soft ground, just failed to reach with the tips of his fingers. The goal was a pretty one, but might have been saved. At the other end Sinclair caught a shot by stepping back into his own goal, but the referee failed to see that the ball had been at least a foot past the post, and he ignored the Aberdeen claim for goal. Sometime after, Sinclair stopped a fast, low shot from Robertson almost on the line.
A REGRETTABLE INCIDENT
Near the close of the game two players left the field - one, Kyle, of Rangers, being ordered off by the referee; and the other, Edgar, of Aberdeen, being carried off insensible with a bruised and bleeding face. The incident was the most regrettable of its kind ever seen at Pittodrie, and the burning indignation of the crowd found vent in the storm of execration that followed Kyle from the field, the indignation being all the more marked in as much as Edgar is one of the quietest and most inoffensive of players. The whistle blew shortly afterwards.
Gate money, £155 7s; stand £27.
Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal, 18th December 1905