AN injury-time James Tavernier penalty ensured Rangers secured a draw against Aberdeen at Pittodrie this afternoon – but they failed to take full advantage of Celtic’s slip-up yesterday.

With the defending cinch Premiership champions and top flight leaders being held at Parkhead by Motherwell yesterday, Phillipe Clement’s side had the chance to move to within six points of their city rivals.

However, the Ibrox club, who have a game in hand still to play, allowed Bojan Miovski to put the home team ahead in the first half and only levelled at the very death following a VAR check.

Referee Nick Walsh ruled that Aberdeen defender Stefan Gartenmann had pulled Connor Goldson in his area after watching a review of the incident on his pitchside monitor. Tavernier stepped up and made no mistake.

So was Walsh correct to award the spot kick? Were Barry Robson’s men hard done by? Did Clement’s side get lucky? Here are five talking points from the encounter.


After making no fewer than 16 appearances for the club he joined from Radomlje in his native Slovenia in the summer as a substitute, Ester Sokler finally got his first start for Aberdeen today.

The 24-year-old, who was deployed up front alongside Miovski in a 5-3-2 set up, should have broken the deadlock in just the fourth minute after Leighton Clarkson had split the Rangers defence with a perfectly-weighted through ball.

Sokler took his time and attempted to place a shot to the right of Jack Butland. The goalkeeper denied him with his outstretched left leg. A wasted chance or an outstanding save? It was a bit of both.

The forward was undeterred. He set up his strike partner for the opening goal seven minutes later when he flicked a clearance kick by Roos into his path. The North Macedonian ghosted between Goldson and Leon Balogun and showed great composure to slot into the bottom left corner of the net.

Miovski has been £535,000 very well spent.  It was his 11th goal of the 2023/24 campaign. His team mate did well to provide him with an assist. But he has an awfully long way to go to match the feats of the fans’ favourite.


The Ecuadorian had played for his country in a World Cup qualifier against Venezuela back in South America during the international break and helped them to a 0-0 draw away.  

But it was the first time he had kicked off a game at club level since the triumph over St Mirren in Paisley at the start of last month. Had he shrugged off the knee problem which had sidelined him in recent weeks?   

He slotted into the deep-lying centre midfielder berth vacated by the injured Ryan Jack in a 4-2-3-1 formation. He did well to dispossess Jamie McGrath when the Republic of Ireland internationalist was in a dangerous position on the edge of the opposition area. But that aside he contributed little. In fact, he was anonymous.

Cifuentes has not had much game time of late. However, he has to start to show why Rangers were prepared to part with £1.2m to secure his services from MLS franchise Los Angeles FC. That said, he was not the only one player in a light blue jersey who failed to get pass marks.


Butland showed why the Rangers fans have taken him to their hearts and chant his name every time the Ibrox club take to the field once again at Pittodrie.

He did well to deny Slobodan Rubezicin in the very first minute, superbly to divert that Sokler shot past his post shortly after that brilliantly to hold a dipping McGrath volley before half-time. The  former Birmingham City, Stoke City and Crystal Palace man has been the best of the new arrivals in Govan by some distance.

But the ex-England internationalist was eclipsed by his Dutch counterpart Kelle Roos. The Aberdeen keeper produced superb blocks from Danilo, Tom Lawrence, Balogun and John Lundstram to keep the hosts in front.

He was beaten by the spot kick at the death. But he then held a Sam Lammers header in injury-time after a Rabbi Matondo cross and effectively earned Aberdeen a draw. Is there a better player in his position in Scotland?


Clement was on the brink of little piece of history when the Premiership game got underway at Pittodrie today - only Billy Struth in 1920, Davie White in 1967 and Giovanni van Bronckhorst in 2021 had previously started their reigns as Rangers manager with five straight top flight victories.

The Belgian missed out on the chance to join that trio as his team produced by far the poorest performance of his tenure against their bitter rivals. He was lucky his charges took a point back down the road.

Too many of his players failed to produce their best football. But he must accept responsibility for the display and result. Is right wing really the most effective position for Todd Cantwell? He was nowhere near as effective as he is when he plays in his favoured position through the middle.  

Lawrence was preferred behind lone striker Danilo and had some good moments. Not least when he struck the crossbar in the second half. The Welshman has spent a long time out and will improve as he gets more minutes under his belt. But his manager has to examine exactly who he is fielding and where to avoid a repeat of this painful result.

Clement should not press the panic button just yet. His side dominated the second half and both Lawrence and Balogun hit the woodwork. But dropping points in these kind of outings proved costly for his predecessors.


Rangers may have struggled as a team collectively and failed to deliver an important victory - but Tavernier showed his mettle when he stepped up and converted from 12 yards at the death.

The equaliser was contentious because it came after a VAR check. But there was a clear tug by Gartenmann on Goldson as the centre half challenged for the ball. A draw was probably a deserved result.

The visitors’ skipper, who has now been on target 12 times this term, ensured the Ibrox club had something to show for all of their efforts.