Aberdeen 0 Rangers 0

Last updated : 24 January 2009 By Footymad Previewer
Aberdeen and Rangers played out a goalless draw at Pittodrie in a game which failed to live up to all the pre-match hype.

Rangers dominated possession for long spells but neither side created many clear openings with the game mainly contested in midfield.

Gers boss Walter Smith sprang a major surprise prior to kick-off. Respecting Aberdeen's good recent home form, he elected to drop top scorer Kris Boyd to the bench, with his place in the starting 11 going to Lee McCulloch in a five-man Rangers midfield.

Not surprisingly Aberdeen kept the same side which had comprehensively beaten league leaders Celtic last weekend.

In the fourth minute Barry Ferguson picked out John Fleck, the youngster didn't hesitate, quickly turning the ball onto his left foot, but from the angle his effort was narrowly over.

Rangers had a scare on eight minutes when defender Madjid Bougherra waited too long on the ball and was dispossessed by Sone Aluko who he them hauled to the ground.

From the free-kick Allan McGregor pulled of a brilliant stop as he flung himself to his right to turn the ball behind the post at the expense of a fruitless corner.

Rangers had another chance minutes later when Kenny Miller played the ball up to Fleck. The youngster span away from Richard Foster but his shot again flew harmlessly over.

On 25 minutes Charlie Mulgrew's long throw into the box found the head of Lee Miller, only for Stuart Duff to miss the ball in front of goal.

Aberdeen created a good opportunity three minutes later. A deep cross from Darren Mackie on the right found Gary McDonald whose late run took him beyond his marker but he failed to keep his powerful header on target.

At the other end Aberdeen had a let-off when McCulloch was given time and space in midfield. His fierce 30-yard effort was spilled by Jaime Langfield and the ball broke to Kenny Miller who was flagged for offside just as he was about to slot the ball home.

The last chance of the first half again fell to Rangers. A Fleck free-kick saw Bougherra react quickest. His stabbed effort from eight yards looked to have given the visitors the lead but the ball fell just beyond the upright with Langfield beaten.

Aberdeen were dealt a serious blow on 52 minutes when Langfield went down bravely at the feet of Miller. The keeper received a bad head knock for his troubles and had to be replaced by Bertrand Bossu.

The Dons had loud appeals for a penalty waved away in the 61st minute when a clipped ball into the area from Gary McDonald saw Lee Miller seemingly pulled to the ground by Bougherra. Somehow the incident was missed by both referee and linesmen.

With 25 minutes left Bougherra played an intelligent ball up to Ferguson who cleverly twisted away from Kerr before firing a great ball across the area, only for Alexander Diamond to get ahead of second-half sub Boyd and avert the danger.

The visitors had the best opportunity of the game with six minutes left. Ferguson's long ball into the area was missed by Richard Foster, sub Nacho Novo chested the ball down and fired his shot against the post.

The ball rebounded back to the goalkeeper with Scott Severin on hand to mop up the danger.

Aberdeen thought they had taken all three points in the 87th minute. Mulgrew's free-kick found Mackie who rose above David Weir only to see his looping header go agonising wide of the upright.