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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 March 2008, 16:49 GMT
Rangers 3-1 Aberdeen
By David Sharp

Rangers goalscorer Christian Dailly
Christian Dailly scored his first goal for Rangers to level the scores
Rangers maintained their four-point advantage over Celtic at the top of the SPL when they fought back from a goal down to defeat Aberdeen at Ibrox.

The hosts started brightly but Aberdeen were dangerous on the counter-attack and Steve Lovell's 28th minute header gave the Dons a deserved lead.

Christian Dailly levelled the scores ten minutes later with a neat volley.

Charlie Adam headed Rangers into the lead after 50 minutes and Kris Boyd sealed victory late on.

Rangers began where they left off after the midweek thrashing of Hearts - in menacing fashion.

Kris Boyd, a last-minute replacement for Jean-Claude Darcheville who pulled up injured in the pre-match warm-up, should have done better when he found space in the Aberdeen box.

But a poor first touch let him down and the chance was gone.

With Dailly sitting in a holding role in front of Rangers' back four, Barry Ferguson was freed up to play in a more advanced position and was prominent early on.

Adam killed Dailly's long ball on his chest and stabbed the ball into the path of the onrushing Ferguson but the midfielder's effort sailed over Derek Soutar's crossbar.

Ferguson continued to rampage forward in support of lone striker Boyd but Rangers couldn't make the breakthrough.

Aberdeen meanwhile appeared content to sit back and allow the hosts possession with the odd foray up the pitch on the counter-attack.

Chris Maguire had the Dons' first attempt on goal after 13 minutes but his speculative long-range drive was deflected into Allan McGregor's arms.

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Maguire's effort seemed to rouse Aberdeen from their slumber and Lovell's cute pirouette on the edge of the Aberdeen box fooled Carlos Cuellar.

The striker found himself one-on-one with McGregor but his clipped shot came off a Rangers defender and flew wide.

As Rangers seemed to switch off at the back, Aberdeen grew in confidence and Lovell should have given them the lead minutes later when he raced clear again.

This time Steve Davis was alert to the danger and blocked the striker's shot but Rangers were living dangerously.

The home side suddenly sprung to life again and Adams' audacious chip from 20 yards came off the underside of Soutar's bar.

At the other end Barry Nicholson played a neat one-two with Jeffrey de Visscher and bore down on goal but McGregor did well to palm his strike round the post.

But Aberdeen didn't have to wait much longer to finally take the lead.

Lovell made amends for his earlier misses after 28 minutes when he rose unchallenged in the box to nod home Lee Miller's floated cross.

De Visscher could have doubled the visitors' lead minutes later when he surged past David Weir into the Rangers box.

But the veteran defender recovered well to put the Dutchman off-balance and he skewed his shot off-target.

Rangers drew level on 38 minutes through the unlikely source of Dailly - claiming his first goal for his new club on his home debut.

Charlie Adam celebrates giving Rangers the lead
Adam headed Rangers into the lead after 50 minutes

The striker-turned-midfielder displayed his former prowess in front of goal when he met Adam's corner and sent a near-post flick past Soutar.

The league leaders came out for the second half in vibrant mood and Adam gave them the lead after 50 minutes.

Kirk Broadfoot was the provider with a great cross from the right which Adam met to direct a powerful header past a stranded Souter.

Aberdeen could have been back on level terms had Andrew Considine done better with a header.

But he glanced the ball over after McGregor failed to collect a long ball into the box.

Nacho Novo, a second-half substitute for the inneffective Chris Burke, then saw his low shot crash off Soutar's right-hand post.

The Dons resorted to desperate defending when Zander Diamond hooked a Boyd effort off the line to safety

Rangers cranked up the pressure and when Novo was upended in the box by Alan Maybury after 83 minutes Boyd stepped up to take the penalty kick.

His first effort was saved by Soutar but he pounced on the rebound to turn the ball high past the unfortunate Dons' keeper from 10 yards for his 18th goal of the season.


Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Whittaker, Dailly, Burke (Novo 45), Ferguson, Davis, Adam (McCulloch 68), Boyd. Subs Not Used: Alexander, Naismith, Cousin, Furman, Fleck.

Goals: Dailly 38, Adam 50, Boyd 83.

Aberdeen: Soutar, Maybury, Considine, Diamond, Foster, De Visscher, Nicholson, Severin, Maguire (Aluko 53), Miller, Lovell. Subs Not Used: Langfield, Mackie, Touzani, Mair, Bus, Walker.

Booked: Diamond.

Goals: Lovell 28.

Att: 50,066

Ref: K Clark (Scotland).



SEE ALSO
Rangers recovery satisfies Smith
01 Mar 08 |  Rangers
Calderwood upbeat despite defeat
01 Mar 08 |  Aberdeen


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