LATE FRANK DE BOER GOAL RESCUES RANGERS - Aberdeen 1 (Diamond 1) Rangers 1 (F. De Boer 87)

Last updated : 15 February 2004 By Lord Jim

It has been all of six years since the ‘Dons’ last
defeated the Ibrox men, but to be blunt they will
seldom have a better chance than they had today.

Rangers made just the one change from Wednesday night
with Shota Arveladze replacing Michael Mols.

The unwelcome appearance of the bumbling, overweight
Willie Young as Referee was a mystifying one, given
that this fixture is arguably the most explosive on
the calendar, even if today is St. Valentine’s Day.

Aberdeen made a sensational start when Maurice Ross
fouled Chris Clark wide on the left. Scott Morrison’s
inswinging free-kick ricocheting off Zander Diamond
into the net.

Rangers were rocked by this setback, and the home side
poured forward in search of what
would almost certainly have been a killer second.

Paul Sheerin tested Stefan Klos with a 22-yard drive
from Scott Booth’s pass that the goalkeeper fisted
away in eight minutes, but within sixty seconds the
German surpassed himself with a stunning save from a
Russell Anderson header from Leigh Hinds’ cross.

Rangers had scarcely managed out of their own half in
these early stages, although Emerson did have an
angled drive flash across the face of goal in ten

Leigh Hinds was proving a handful to the Champions’
defence, one solo run in eighteen minutes ending with
a shot that flashed across the face of goal, then two
minutes later striking the crossbar with a 25-yard

The Light Blues were a shambles, and Manager Alex
McLeish, clearly believing that changes were
essential, replaced Christian Nerlinger with Hamed
Namouchi in 26 minutes.

The substitution made little difference, as Rangers
were comprehensively outplayed throughout the opening
forty-five minutes, Klos again keeping his team in the
match with a fine save from a Markus Heikkinen drive
in 35 minutes.

The first-half ended with the home side considering
themselves most unlucky to be only one goal ahead, and
Alex McLeish recognised that by making a further
substitution, introducing Paulo Vanoli as replacement
for Michael Ball.

Rangers at last started to make an impression as the
second-half unfolded, winning their first corner seven
minutes after the restart.

Arveladze indeed might have equalised in 56 minutes
when he fastened on to a Ross throw-in only to shoot

The pressure was all towards David Preece’s goal and
twice within three minutes just after the hour Nuno
Capucho might have equalised, firstly scooping a Ross
in-swinger wide, then connecting with a weak header
from a Vanoli free-kick that was gathered comfortably
by Preece. That header indeed, after 64 minutes, was
Rangers’ first effort on target.

Vanoli himself was next to threaten, testing Preece
with a swerving 25-yarder that the ‘Dons’ goalkeeper

For all the Ibrox pressure, Aberdeen were still
dangerous on the counter-attack, Klos having to be on
his toes to cut out a Kevin McNaughton cross in 74

Two minutes later Klos kept Rangers alive with a save
from a Hinds drive off a Sheerin corner.

Home substitute Bryan Prunty almost brought the house
down with seven minutes remaining with a solo run that
ended with a shot that just cleared the crossbar.

With time running out, Rangers at last levelled
matters when a Vanoli free-kick found Frank De Boer
who headed home for his first goal for the club.

It had been a game of two halves, but there can be no
excuse for a first-half performance from the visitors
that was a complete and utter abomination.

Alex McLeish was brutally frank in his post-match

"The first-half was totally unacceptable, shocking. It
was a performance unbecoming of Rangers. One point is
no use to us at this stage."

ABERDEEN Preece; McNaughton, Diamond, Anderson,
Morrison; Clark (Muirhead 78), Heikkinen, Sheerin;
Hinds, Booth (Booth 71), Zdrilic
UNUSED SUBS Esson, McGuire, Foster

RANGERS Klos; Ross, Moore, F. De Boer, Ball (Vanoli
45); Capucho, Ricksen, Emerson, Nerlinger (Namouchi
26); De Boer (Mols 75), Arveladze
UNUSED SUBS McGregor, Hutton

REFEREE Willie Young