Todd Cantwell scores Rangers’ winner against Neil Warnock’s Aberdeen

Rangers moved level with Premiership leaders Celtic as Neil Warnock’s first game as interim Aberdeen manager ended with a 2-1 defeat at Ibrox.

The 75-year-old’s appointment until the end of the season made headlines but in a turbo-charged start by the hosts, the winger Rabbi Matondo capitalised on a mistake by Dons’ keeper Kelle Roos to give Gers the lead.

The Dons forward Bojan Miovski levelled in first-half added time with his 20th goal of the season before Rangers applied sustained pressure after the break. On 73 minutes, when Roos palmed away a powerful Tom Lawrence shot, Todd Cantwell followed up to finish.

Rangers’ second-half substitute Dujon Sterling was shown a straight red card by the referee Don Robertson in the 88th minute for a tackle on Jack MacKenzie and the 10-man home side played out eight added minutes before sealing victory.

Rangers and Celtic are now level on 58 points with the Hoops having a superior goal difference, +39 to +38. Celtic play at Hibernian on Wednesday, which will again leave Rangers with a game in hand.

Gers boss Philippe Clement brought in John Souttar, Ridvan Yilmaz, Lawrence and Cyriel Dessers with Mohamed Diomande, the 22-year-old midfielder signed on a loan from Nordsjaelland with an obligation to buy, on the bench.

Warnock’s selection showed two changes from the side that started the draw against Celtic at weekend, with Jonny Hayes and Leighton Clarkson coming in for Dante Polvara and Killian Phillips.

The 75-year-old Neil Warnock took charge of Aberdeen for the first time on Tuesday. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

The home supporters soon had something to cheer with a goal initiated by Matondo’s pass to Cantwell. The former Norwich forward found Ross McCausland, whose low drive was spilled by Roos, allowing Matondo to blast in from close range.

Rangers appeared to be in control, but a pass from midfielder Connor Barron set up Miovski to fend off Connor Goldson and slip the ball past Butland.

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Matondo made way for new signing Óscar Cortés after half-time, the Colombian winger on loan from Lens, with Fábio Silva replacing Dessers. Aberdeen were pinned back but a well-organised and determined defence kept an increasingly frantic Rangers at bay. The Dons repelled a series of corners, with Roos blocking a Lawrence shot with his foot following one of Yilmaz’s deliveries.

However, Lawrence’s next effort from distance was venomous and although the Pittodrie keeper made a save, the ball fell to Cantwell, who slid the ball back into the net for his fifth goal in eight games.

Amid more substitutions, Diomande replaced Cantwell in the 85th minute to make his debut and took part in a frantic finale in which Sterling, on for Lawrence, was dismissed.


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