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The BBC's Roddy Forsyth
"A match which started with melodrama and ended in farce"
 real 28k

BBC Scotland's Rhona McLeod
"Dick Advocaat admitted the win was made easier by the injury to Leighton"
 real 28k

Ebbe Skovdahl, Aberdeen manager
"It started going wrong with Jim Leighton's accident"
 real 28k

Saturday, 27 May, 2000, 19:05 GMT 20:05 UK
Rangers profit from Dons' misery
Leighton is carried from the field of play
Aberdeen 0-4 Rangers

Three early second half goals by Tony Vidmar, Billy Dodds and Jorg Albertz finished this cup final as a contest.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst gave Rangers the lead in the first half but the start of the match was marred by a serious head injury to Aberdeen goalkeeper Jim Leighton.

Leighton went down bravely at the feet of Rod Wallace as Kanchelskis drove the ball in low from the right in the second minute.

Van Bronckhorst
Van Bronckhorst scores the opener
Wallace appeared to catch Leighton on the jaw with his boot as he swung at the ball.

The veteran 'keeper seemed to be out cold, and after a lengthy delay, he was stretchered from the field.

It emerged shortly afterwards that Leighton had sustained a fractured jaw and damaged teeth.

With no substitute goalkeeper on the bench, striker Robbie Winters was forced to don reserve 'keeper Ryan Esson's shirt and gloves.

The game restarted in a bizarre atmosphere, with neither side making any real headway.

First opening

The first real opening came Aberdeen's way before the injury to Leighton after Barry Ferguson hesitated in the midfield area.

As the Rangers defence backed off, the ball was played through to Arild Stavrum, but the Norwegian was caught offside.

Rangers seemed to be more affected by the injury to Leighton than Aberdeen who were first to every ball and created one or two good chances.

Stavrum beat Craig Moore well near the goalline but his cutback was well intercepted by Albertz.

Dodds headed in the third
Winters produced an excellent instinctive save onto the bar after good work from Kanchelskis allowed Wallace to get a shot on target.

Rangers began to impose their authority on the game and a quick Jorg Albertz free kick gave van Bronckhorst the opportunity to fire past the exposed Winters as the Aberdeen defence was caught cold.

The free kick was a result of a bad challenge by Russell Anderson on Barry Ferguson in which the young Aberdeen defender came off worst.

And Anderson was forced to depart the field of play five minutes later as a result of that challenge.

An unbelievable nine minutes of injury time was played at the end of the first half, but the game as a whole was fairly flat, probably as a result of the early injury to Leighton.

Rangers showed their ruthlessness in the first ten minutes of the second half.

They won an early corner and as the ball bobbled around the box, Tony Vidmar swept the ball high into the net.

A matter of minutes later, it was 3-0 as Albertz swung in another corner and Billy Dodds rose unchallenged at the back post to head the ball into the far corner.

Albertz special

And in 51 minutes, Albertz himself increased the lead with one of his speciality long-range efforts which came off the underside of the bar and bounced behind the line, with Wallace and Dodds on hand to make sure.

A fifth was not too far away when Dodds headed an almost identical chance to his goal against the crossbar, and Vidmar then headed wide when it looked easier to score.

Aberdeen carved open the Rangers defence and Belabed looked poised to pull one back, but Vidmar got back to put in an excellent saving tackle.

With Rangers in complete control and with the game effectively over, the final half-hour was played out with Rangers stroking the ball about at their leisure.

To their credit, Aberdeen did not buckle entirely and fears of a record scoreline were never realised.

Albertz scored from 25 yards
The game will be remembered principally for the shocking injury to Leighton, a sad end to what has been a terrific career.

Rangers manager Dick Advocaat acknowledged that the injury to Leighton had ruined the game as a spectacle.

He said: "I am pleased with the result, but it had everything to do with the injury to Leighton.

"From that moment the game was over because it is difficult for an outfield player to go straight into goal.

"The game changed the moment Leighton went off, and to be fair it went in our direction then.

"I feel sorry for Leighton because he has had a brilliant career and he deserved a better end than what happened today."

Dons boss Ebbe Skovdahl was philosophical about his side's defeat.

"It started all wrong with Leighton's accident but we played well in the first half," said the Dane.

"The early goals in the second half killed the game and frustrated some of our players."


Aberdeen: Leighton, Whyte, Solberg, Anderson, McAllister, Bernard, Jess, Rowson, Guntveit, Stavrum, Dow.
Subs: Winters, Belabed, Zerouali.

Rangers: Klos, Reyna, Moore, Vidmar, Numan, Kanchelskis, Ferguson, Albertz, van Bronckhorst, Wallace, Dodds.
Subs: McCann, Tugay, Porrini.

Referee: Jim McCluskey (Scotland)

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