Rangers rage against the red sea of a Dons defence that refuses to part
Rangers 0 Aberdeen 1
Scorer Lewis Ferguson, 72nd minute.
By Bill Heaney
Rangers are out of the League Cup. Aberdeen will now go on to meet Celtic in the final at Hampden Park thanks to a brave and brilliant headed goal by their young forward Lewis Ferguson. This was a match Rangers should have won on paper, but it was so different out there on the field. Dons manager had chosen to play using the exact same defensive tactics that Hearts employed to no avail hours earlier against Celtic at Murrayfield. They worked wonderfully well for Derek McInnes – but let Rangers down badly 20 minutes from the end of this tough, close fought encounter when teenager Ferguson out-jumped the Rangers’ defence to direct a cross from a corner kick high into the net past the Scotland keeper Alan MacGregor. The Rangers’ players consulted with their manager Steven Gerrard time after time for clues to ways of unlocking the tight Dons defence in which Shinnie and Devlin were outstanding. But the former Liverpool and England captain had no solutions when it came to penetrating the well-drilled Dons defence. Rangers tried and tried time and again to find the key but all their efforts were in vain. It was a nail-biting last 20 minutes for Dons, but the Grampian lads built a granite wall around their keeper, Joe Lewis, and Rangers failed to breech it. They had to take the short trip home to Govan empty handed. Rangers didn’t deserve to lose, but then they didn’t deserve to win either. A draw and a replay would have been a fairer result, but in these days when television’s tail wags the dog that is not possible.