RANGERS drew level with Celtic on points at the top of the cinch Premiership table and denied Neil Warnock a result in his opening game as Aberdeen interim manager tonight with a hard-fought 2-1 triumph at Ibrox.

Rabbi Matondo put Philippe Clement’s side ahead early on only for Bojan Miovski to cancel out their lead shortly before half-time.

Tension grew around the stadium as the match wore on – but Todd Cantwell netted in the 72nd minute to put the home team in front once again and they held on to secure the victory they needed to move alongside their city rivals.

Dujon Sterling being shown a straight red card near the death for a rash challenge on Jack McKenzie incensed Clement and the Rangers supporters – but this was a hugely satisfying evening for everyone associated with the Ibrox club. 

Here are five talking points from the encounter. 


Warnock may have been in the dugout for 1626 games in England, a record at professional level down south, and might be in his 20th managerial job.

But this was still a step into the unknown for the 75-year-old – it was the first competitive match he had been involved in up in Scotland.

Having only overseen one training session since being appointed, it was unreasonable to expect Aberdeen to be vastly improved. He only decided to take charge for this outing because he was so keen to sample the Ibrox atmosphere. But his arrival clearly had an impact.

The visitors contained their rivals well after falling behind early on and silenced the stadium just before half-time when they equalised. Did they try to waste time deliberately and take the sting out of proceedings at the behest of their new gaffer? They were certainly accused of doing so by the irate home support.

Warnock had avoided defeat in his opening league game at every club he has been at since he was at Oldham back in 1992. That run came to an end last night. He looks, though, as if he could be an inspired choice to replace Barry Robson. 


Rangers have not fared well against Aberdeen in the league this term – they lost 3-1 at Ibrox to them at the end of September and were held to a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie in November.

However, the hosts had last suffered back-to-back league defeats at home to the visitors away back in 1988 and were, having won five on the spin, widely expected to prevail.

Aberdeen, though, had other ideas and once again made life very difficult for the Glasgow giants. 

Clement made a double substitution after just 55 minutes – new signing Oscar Cortes took over from scorer Matondo while Silva replaced Dessers - and the replacements gave Rangers the lift they badly needed.

There is a definite feelgood factor around Ibrox, both on the pitch and in the stands, and the home supporters in the 49,329-strong crowd enjoyed this hard-fought result enormously.

New signing Mohamed Diomande coming on was further reason for them to be optimistic about what the future holds.


Wolves loanee Fabio Silva had opened his account for Rangers in the 3-0 win over Livingston on Saturday – but Cyriel Dessers was preferred to his club mate up front against Aberdeen.

Dessers has started to show why it took £4.5m to secure his services from Cremonese in Italy in the summer of late and took his tally for the 2023/24 campaign to 12 against St Mirren last month.  

But it was Matondo who was on target once again. He curled one in from the edge of the penalty box at the weekend. And he showed good instincts to break the deadlock in the seventh minute.

Aberdeen keeper Kelle Roos should have dealt with an ambitious Ross McCausland shot that lacked power far better than he did. Still, the winger made no mistake after the ball had been palmed into his path.

The 23-year-old lost control just as he was about to shoot eight minutes before half-time when he only had Roos to beat. But he made amends shortly afterwards when he forced a good save from the Dutchman.  

The former Schalke 04 player is hoping to force his way back into his national squad for the Euro 2024 play-offs next month. He is going the right way about it.


Lawrence Shankland of Hearts is unquestionably the on-form striker in Scottish football at the moment having scored 22 goals for club and country this term and been on target 10 times in his last nine appearances.

But Miovski is not far behind him. The North Macedonian internationalist was linked with a move away from Pittodrie, including to Parkhead, during the January transfer window and it was easy to see why when he levelled proceedings.

The 24-year-old did superbly to get on the end of a Connor Barron chip, hold off Connor Goldson and dink Jack Butland with the deftest of touches. He has now found then net 20 times in all competitions since August and is sure to attract interest in the summer.


Tom Lawrence was, given how well Sterling has performed in the deep-lying midfielder role for Rangers this season, a slightly surprising inclusion in the starting line-up.

The Welshman is more of an attacking midfielder than a defensive one. His strengths lie in bursting forward and creating chances, not in sitting back and breaking up opposition play.

Selecting him in the same side as playmaker Cantwell was, then, an adventurous move by Clement. But his manager had spoken at his pre-match press conference of his desire to see teams be bolder. He was clearly leading by example.

Lawrence has been by bedevilled by injury problems since moving to Glasgow and this term has been no different. This was the first time he had kicked off a game since the meeting with Hearts at Tynecastle away back on December 6.

He made an immediate impact alongside John Lundstram in the middle of the park. He played a nice one-two with Matondo and supplied Cantwell in the opposition area. He continued to impress thereafter.

He had a hand in what proved to be the winner. Roos pushed his powerful volley wide and Cantwell ghosted in and netted from an acute angle. He was given a warm round of applause as he made way for Sterling.

Having the vastly experienced 30-year-old fit and available for selection will help Rangers to negotiate the Premiership, Scottish Cup and Europa League matches they have coming up in the months ahead.