In a match where Rangers played 87 minutes with 10 men overall, there were some excellent performances. The team looked cohesive and determined, and everyone put in a real shift to try and win the match. An opening game at Pittodrie is rarely easy, so it was encouraging that the team played well despite the draw. Below is how I feel each player rated against Aberdeen.
ALLAN McGREGOR – 7
McGregor was beaten by a very good strike, but until then he hadn’t been asked to do too much. He organised the defence excellently, dealt with cross balls, and knew when to slow the game down. There was only really one save of note in the first half from an overhit cross. His experience was vital to how well Rangers defended.
JAMES TAVERNIER – 7
Tavernier scored the penalty and showed real mental strength when doing so. The delay in being able to hit it, plus the importance of the moment in the match, didn’t put him off. Defensively, he was solid, with only one moment where he was beaten by Mackay-Steven. His attacking play was somewhat nullified by the situation of the game. One cross for Murphy saw the forward head wide when he could have done better.
CONNOR GOLDSON – 8
Goldson yet again showed why Rangers fans are excited by his signing. He won headers, read through balls, played good passes from the back, and added real composure to the team. His leadership helped others through the game and prevented panic when under spells of pressure. Very unlucky to be booked, and also not to block the shot which resulted in the Aberdeen goal.
NIKOLA KATIC – 8
Katic had a few loose moments defensively, but they were rare. Throughout the match, he was winning the ball on the deck or in the air consistently. He showed good recovery pace more than once and positioned himself well to cover when required. Some are still a bit unsure of him, but so far Katic has done well.
JON FLANAGAN – 7
Flanagan, like Tavernier, defended well against long cross-field balls. He was beaten to the byline a couple of times but didn’t have any other problems aside from that. Won a number of challenges, and provided good cover. One through ball in the first half was swept up as he followed the run of McGinn to the centre.
RYAN JACK – 9
Jack was easily man of the match and the standout performer for the second match in a row. In the first half, he rarely missed a pass, and won tackles all over the pitch. Despite the Aberdeen players and fans doing their utmost to wind him up, he was composed and showed quality throughout. His injury, after a poor challenge by May, definitely had an impact upon the performance. Hopefully, there will be good news about his fitness, although he was pictured being taken from the ground in an ambulance after the match.
LASSANA COULIBALY – 7
Coulibaly worked really hard, and pressed the game well. He won tackles and was involved in a high amount of physical challenges. One break in the second half showed just how quickly he can go from box to box as well. The only negatives were on the ball, where some of his passing wasn’t good enough. For someone still settling into the team, his performances have been encouraging.
SCOTT ARFIELD – 7
Arfield added real strength and experience in midfield. Once the team went down to 10 men, his leadership was vital. There were a few nice passes and moments on the ball, but this game needed more defensive focus than he’d have liked. There were no complaints, and he certainly never held back in any challenges. Very unlucky to be booked for absolutely nothing as well.
JOSH WINDASS – 8
This one will probably annoy some people. However, Windass was excellent in my opinion. Asked to do a lot more running and offer a threat once we went down to 10 men, he put in a great shift. Not only that, but his movement was intelligent, and he offered a great out ball. There’s no doubt a couple of decisions on the ball let him down. That applies to every player on the day. Overall, he gave Aberdeen real problems, was unlucky not to score with a couple of chances, and really justified his selection.
ALFREDO MORELOS – 1
Only being on the pitch for 10 minutes and getting a red card means Morelos has to receive this rating. He started brightly, looking like he was really in the mood. His kick out at McKenna, as much as he was provoked, was a mistake.
JAMIE MURPHY – 6
Murphy struggled a bit on the ball, given his standards. He missed a great chance early in the match, and couldn’t seem to quite offer his best. However, his workrate was excellent, and he won tackles and tracked runners. Attacking players are always going to be affected by an early red card, but I feel overall his contribution deserved praise, despite not quite being at his best.
RYAN KENT – 3
Kent came on for Murphy, but struggled to make an impact. A couple of promising runs were halted by fouls.
OVIE EJARIA – 2
Ejaria came on for Jack. He won a few tackles, but the team weren’t able to keep the ball at that stage.
How did you rate the players on the day?