The latest weekend clash between the rivals at Pittodrie was tame in comparison to some of the battles of the past. Admittedly there were a few flash-points particularly when Steven Naismith clashed with Rob Milsom, an incident that saw the Dons schemer limp out of action. Naismith’s afternoon was also to end prematurely as he later collapsed with a suspected serious knee injury. The Scotland striker’s plight certainly amused the home faithful as they taunted the player as he was stretchered off.
These sets of supporters need little encouragement to wind each other up.
In the end Ally McCoist’s men left the Granite City with all three points following a 2-1 victory. It was the second time the Dons had been on the end of a 2-1 defeat after suffering a similar result at Parkhead the previous weekend. Kyle Lafferty’s neat finish from a Steven Davis pass broke the deadlock, before Nikica Jelavic’s penaltykick doubled the visitor’s advantage. The spot kick was awarded after Darren Mackie was adjudged to have fouled in the box following a last gasp tackle.
The Dons were also reduced to 10 men when Rory Fallon was red carded following an alleged elbow. Another flashpoint perhaps, but remember this is a game that has seen supporters invade the pitch in one of a string of ugly incidents. Allan McGregor looked to have Ricky Foster’s blast from outside the box covered, yet the ball flew into the net to set up a tense last eight minutes. However, it was too little too late for the Reds as they were unable to halt Rangers’ recent run of impressive form on the road. But Aberdeen manager Craig Brown insists his side is making steady progress.
“We were two down to Rangers, we fought back; we were one down to Celtic, we fought back,” Brown said.
“There is no question of this team giving in. The future is bright.
“I think the better team won the game.
“Having said that, our goalkeeper had one save in the match. I do feel the breaks went Rangers’ way, in terms of the penalty kick, the ordering-off.
“But, over the piece, they were marginally better than Aberdeen.
“There is fight in the team, there is a determination to do better.
“Now that we are not playing the Old Firm, we’ve got a chance to play against teams in the same bracket as ourselves.”
A late blow for the Dons was a red card for New Zealand striker Rory Fallon, who was judged by referee Willie Collum to have intentionally elbowed Rangers centre-half Dorin Goian. Brown reckons his striker was harshly treated.
“Now we will lose Fallon for the next game at least.
“I felt he didn’t take his eye off the ball at any time. He didn’t deliberately elbow the opponent.”
Once billed as the fiercest fixture in Scotland has the Aberdeen vs Rangers encounter finally lost its edge?