TODD CANTWELL netted the only goal of the game to earn Rangers a narrow victory over Aberdeen at Ibrox.

The midfielder took home the Man of the Match award thanks to his moment of magic in the second half. But this was a low key afternoon on and off the park as Barry Robson suffered a rare setback as Dons boss.

Rangers will now prepare for the final Old Firm fixture of the campaign against Celtic next weekend as Aberdeen look to bounce back in their bid to finish third in the Premiership.


The Premiership title has now officially gone and the closing weeks of the campaign will be the final ones for so many members of the Ibrox squad. No Rangers game can ever be meaningless, though.

These post-split outings carry their own significance for Beale. They will not shape his thoughts heading into the summer or next season, but he can’t afford for the season to finish with an even darker cloud hanging over Ibrox as Rangers come to terms with their individual and collective failings.

A crowd of almost 47,000 turned out for this one. Before kick-off, the majority of the Ibrox crowd marked the Coronation of King Charles III with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem as a Union Flag graphic was displayed all around the ground on the advertising boards.

The only goal they had to cheer came just after the hour mark. It was one of the few flashes of quality in the game as Cantwell watched a James Tavernier corner all the way from the right and then rifled it back across goal and into the bottom corner of the net.

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Beale made a handful of changes from the side that lost to Celtic at Hampden this weekend and it was an afternoon that had a very end of season feel about it on and off the park. The points were pleasing but the fact that Rangers are another week closer to the end of the term was most welcomed.


This was an opportunity for Beale to mix it up in terms of his team selection and give those who have had little game time recently the platform to go and prove themselves. For McCrorie, such a chance had been a long time coming and it is a case of now or never for the keeper.

With Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin set to depart in the summer, McCrorie has to prove that he can be part of Beale’s squad for next term and he believes he is good enough to be the new number one at Ibrox. Quite simply, he had to perform against the Dons.

A terrific save to deny Duk – after Aberdeen had broken clear and the striker had been set up by Bojan Miovski – was the highlight of the first half for McCrorie. The angle for Duk was tight but McCrorie made himself big and a brilliant block with his legs to kept Rangers level.

Just before the break, Duk was clear once again and only had McCrorie to beat. The 25-year-old was out smartly to rush Duk into action and he scooped his effort high over the bar.

A fingertip save to divert a Liam Scales header for a corner was smart and another excellent block with his feet denied Shayden Morris late on.

McCrorie could have done little more and he deserved his clean sheet. This was a commanding performance and a start against Celtic next weekend should be his reward.


Fashion Sakala was given the nod to start through the middle and was supported by Ianis Hagi and Rabbi Matondo as Alfredo Morelos dropped to the bench. Antonio Colak missed out once again.

Little was learned about the front three that we didn’t already know. This, then, was an afternoon that reinforced the requirement for significant changes in the forward areas this summer.

Sakala simply cannot be relied on as a regular scorer and two moments late in the half summed up his lack of conviction in front of goal as, from similar positions in the right channel, he failed to find a way beyond keeper Kelle Roos. When he finished after 51 minutes, he was rightly ruled offside.

Hagi spoke on Friday about where he is in terms of his fitness and form and these 65 minutes were certainly welcome for the Romanian. He could have had more of an influence on proceedings but his talent and his mentality have been proven previously.

That is not the case for Matondo. The best that Rangers can wish for is that these final fixtures put him in the shop window and hope joins Morelos, Ryan Kent, and perhaps a couple of others, in heading for the exit door this summer.

Beale needs to add guile and goals to this side. If those additions are not a significant upgrade, Rangers will be second best once again next season.


The Dons arrived at Ibrox in fine form and high spirits following a remarkable recent run under Robson. The highlight was the 2-0 victory over Beale’s side a fortnight ago.

That sequence of results saw Robson handed the position at Pittodrie on a permanent basis and this was his first fixture without the caretaker label. It was one he should have fancied his chances of winning.

This was not the most defensive, unimaginative performance that a visiting team have put in at Ibrox this season. Aberdeen were not on the front foot for significant spells, though, and they were not clinical enough to take the couple of chances that they created.

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Defeat for Hearts at home to Celtic was a welcome boost for Robson’s side and they are in prime position to be best of the rest this term. Hibernian are still in the mix and their trip to Pittodrie next weekend is shaping up to be a cracker of a fixture.


This week marked one year since the sad passing of the Ibrox stalwart and legendary kit man. As the famous win over RB Leipzig has been recalled, so has Bell as those who worked with him paid tribute once again.

This fixture was designated as ‘Retro Shirt Day’ as supporters were urged to delve into the wardrobes and pick out the famous tops from yesteryear. A video that was posted on Rangers’ social media channels gave a tour around the home dressing room as a series of iconic, emotive tops from history were displayed on the pegs that Bell once took such pride in preparing on a match day.

There were shirts from the Souness Revolution and nine-in-a-row, from the Advocaat era to Helicopter Sunday and supporters took the chance to roll back the years themselves as old jerseys were scattered around the stadium for this Premiership clash.

Collection buckets outside raised funds for the Emmie Smillie Charity Foundation after the worthy cause was selected by the Bell family and a rendition of ‘One Jimmy Bell’ from the Union Bears was fitting to mark the occasion.