ABERDEEN: Teenager Bruce Anderson’s goal in time added on denied Rangers head coach Steven Gerrard a winning debut in the Scottish Premiership as Aberdeen secured a 1-1 draw with 10-man Rangers.
Gerrard, who took on his first senior manager’s role after coaching the Liverpool under-18 side last season, could feel hard done by.
Despite his side being reduced to 10 men in the 12th minute with the straight red card for Alfredo Morelos, they had dealt easily with an ineffective Aberdeen until 19-year-old Anderson fired home from 14 metres out on his debut for the Dons.
“We were magnificent,” Gerrard told Sky Sports.
“We were very good with 11 men, and even better with 10. Aberdeen had no idea against us. For 93 minutes it was perfect.”
“It’s frustrating to lose the late goal. Every single player to a man was fantastic. Aberdeen only had one idea and it was to lump it into the box.”
“I’m very pleased walking away from here (Aberdeen),” added the 38-year-old former Liverpool and England midfield great.
For Aberdeen coach Derek McInnes, it was only the third time in nine clashes with Rangers he has avoided defeat.
He admitted his side’s lack of effectiveness was down to a hard Europa League qualifier second leg against English side Burnley last Thursday, which they lost after extra time.
“The onus was on us to try and find answers,” McInnes told the BBC.
“It wasn’t even a lack of spark in the final third – we couldn’t even get there because our choice of pass was really disappointing at times.”
Rangers, desperate to end bitter city rivals Celtic’s seven-year hold over the title, had taken the lead on the half-hour mark when James Tavernier converted a penalty awarded after Dominic Ball’s tug on Josh Windass.
Aberdeen suffered a further blow soon afterwards when highly-rated centre-back Scott McKenna, who is wanted by Swansea as a replacement for Alfie Mawson after he left for Fulham, went off with a hamstring injury.
McKenna had been at the heart of the sending off of Morelos, who was ejected when the 22-year-old Colombian retaliated to the Aberdeen player’s barge.
On Saturday, Celtic – coached by one of Gerrard’s former managers at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers – began their bid for an eighth consecutive Scottish Premiership title in style with a convincing 3-1 victory against Livingston.
Goals from Australian midfielder Tom Rogic and striker Odsonne Edouard secured a comfortable lead at half-time at Celtic Park.
French midfielder Olivier Ntcham added a third with a penalty five minutes after the break, rendering Scott Robinson’s added-time goal a mere consolation.