Thanks to Rangers’ defence playing well, Foderingham had little to do for most of the Aberdeen match. He got a full hand to youngster Frank Ross’ free-kick at 0 – 2 and should have done much better to keep it out and push the ball round the post for a corner. Wes also looked extremely vulnerable with floundering a couple of good crosses which the referee helped him out with awarding fouls against the oncoming Aberdeen forwards.
I was pleased to see James Tavernier giving another strong display from right-back after his midweek two-goal heroics. I don’t rate him at full back and love him as a wing-back, but he got forward very well and sent in a number of teasing crosses and he did defend resolutely throughout this game.
Man of the match David Bates was brought back into the team for the first time since the Gers’ Europa League defeat to the Luxembourg minnows Progres and the young defender did not put a foot wrong the whole match. His positional play was excellent, he was strong with his tackles and won all his headers and was completely solid throughout.
Another stand-out performance from Danny Wilson who opened the scoring in the 14th-minute for the Gers with a stunning headed effort which easily beat their tall goalkeeper due to the accuracy of his bulleted header – right in the top corner of the net. His intelligent defending alongside Bates was disrupted when Wilson was forced off at the end of the first half due to him being diagnosed with concussion.
Fabio Cardoso deputised and restarted the second half for the unlucky Wilson. We now had the inexperienced Bates and Cardoso coming back from his broken nose at the back. It was not an ideal situation, but they did play well together as the Dons looked to pile on the pressure. Cardoso did make a very important clearance near the end of the match to keep Aberdeen out.
Declan John played well throughout the match and his exquisite floated free kick from the right wing fell perfectly onto Wilson’s head for a brilliant early opening goal. Rangers were now in complete control of the first half and keeping the ball better than normal.
Ross McCrorie continues to play calm and collected in the central defending midfield position that Graeme Murty decided to try him in. This tall 19-year-old is starting to look like a fixture in his new position – well done Murty! He was again immense at Pittodrie. A well-known difficult place for Rangers to win many matches. Their fans hate the Ibrox club and make their vociferous feelings known to all of our players. McCrorie’s reading of the game to break down so many of the Aberdeen attacks was so important in Rangers winning all three points on Sunday. He also showed good pace and composure when others were starting to lose the plot. Great all-round display.
Ryan Jack was easily our best and most influential performer until a rash challenge was judged to be a straight red card. Rangers were down to 10 men after Jack was immediately and hastily sent of. Ryan clearly got to the ball first, but was unfairly judged to have carried through dangerously. What about May charging forward into Jack in the same tackle? Both players followed through and May came out second best in the head on duel. Willie Collum has handed out more cards this season than any other official in this SPL season – enough said!
Jason Holt has a terrific engine and a superb work rate and was his usual energetic self in the middle of the park. He does press the opposition well, but his tackling is exceptionally poor and his passing is erratic at best. He is not my kind of quality Rangers player – I like my type of player to have much more qualities.
Carlos Pena as the luxury carrying player who can unlock defences and score some much needed goals for the team but he was much better during the Ibrox game than he was at Pittodrie where the game was far too fast for him to shine; he looked slow and sluggish and never looked like scoring. He showed very few glimpses of quality and could easily have been pulled off at half time.
Oh my gosh, what do I say about Josh? He scored the winner and was unlucky with another great shot that brought a wonderful save from the tall Aberdeen keeper. He picked up a really silly, embarrassing yellow card, for a blatant dive when it was so obvious that the keeper hadn’t touched him. But arguably scoring four goals in his last six starts definitely merits holding down his first eleven starting place. For the time being anyway.
Kenny Miller continues to split the Rangers support. I personally would play him until the new manager finds someone better than him to play. He did a power of work, especially when we were down to 10 men.
Last but not least, if yesterday was indeed to be his last match, thank you Graeme Murty for everything you have done for this proud club of ours. You stepped up and were an exceptionally safe pair of hands. Four wins from six and you got us to second place which is more than can be said for any other manager since promotion. Keep up the good work at the training ground and good luck with your post-managerial duties.