Aberdeen v The Rangers

Bruce Anderson Scores Late Leveller Against The Rangers

Aberdeen teenager Bruce Anderson scored in stoppage-time to deny Steven Gerrard’s The Rangers a winning start to the Scottish Premiership campaign.

The Rangers played more than 80 minutes with 10 men after Alfredo Morelos was dismissed for a kick-out at Scott McKenna.

Despite that, James Tavernier gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot after Dominic Ball fouled Josh Windass.

But Anderson, making his Dons debut, struck late into time added on.

The 19-year-old took an accomplished touch and skidded a finish low past Allan McGregor three minutes into added time.

We looked lethargic, having taken Burnley to extra time before going out of the Europa League on Thursday, but did enough to start the term with a draw.

Dons goalscorer Anderson said:  “It’s a dream come true.

“It was my childhood dream as I’m an Aberdeen fan and all my family are Aberdeen fans. I’m delighted for them as well.

“I was thinking of my family and hopefully I’ve made them proud.

“I can’t really remember the goal to be honest. I just remember the ball dropping and I just wanted to hit the target. I focussed on hitting the target, getting a good connection and luckily for me it’s went past the keeper.

“I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life and hopefully there’s a lot more good days to come.

“It’s been a long couple of days. It shows the character we’ve got with the way we’ve kept battling on. Luckily enough we’ve got a goal.
“For me it’s all about learning. I’m trying to learn every day, develop as a player and if the minutes come then I’ll try and take my chance as much as I can.

“I’ll make sure I’m ready for whenever the gaffer wants to use me. The manager told me before I went on just to enjoy it and take your chance. Hopefully I’ve managed to do that.

“Hopefully that’s the first of many.

“I felt like if I got on I was going to get a chance and I was confident I could take it. Rangers were really compact at the back and really organised so it was about us being resilient and taking the chance when it came along.

“As I say I always felt I would get a chance. I always have that belief when I play. I might also have done a bit better with my header earlier.

“I’m sure he’ll phone me tonight (Adam Rooney) and I’ll let him know how it went so I’m looking forward to speaking to him. He has been my mentor over the past three years and I would speak to him every day in training. I’ll let him know I scored one more than him this weekend!

“Hopefully I can match his record at the club one day but at the moment all I need to do is keep working hard and trying to get better.”

Derek McInnes after the match, told the club website:  “I’m pleased to get something from the game and it was no more than we deserved.

“When you don’t play anywhere near your best it’s important you still get something.

“Late goals have been common with my team over the years when we’ve not been at our best and getting something from the game whether that’s a draw or three points.

“It’s always better to score a late equaliser than lose one.

“I’m disappointed with the level of performance when they went down to ten men, but I’m pleased with the discipline with my players and the control they showed. When they go down to ten men it’s a game changer especially so early in the game. I haven’t seen the penalty, but my staff think it’s a penalty. It gave Rangers something to hold on to when they tucked away their penalty.

“The onus was on us to try and create and find a flow and rhythm to our game to ask the question and that side of it wasn’t there. We didn’t move the ball quick enough. There’s no doubting my boys who played on Thursday and went to extra time didn’t have the intensity today, so we were nowhere near our level in terms of that and it’s very important to have that pace and brightness.

“The mental tiredness is a real explanation for why we didn’t bring our level of performance that we normally bring. That said you have to rely on other things and freshness and inspiration and wee Bruce Anderson gives us that.

“The thing I love about the boy is he goes onto the pitch expecting to get chances. He came on and won a header against a boy that’s nearly a foot taller than him right away and was then finding space and not standing up against defenders. He’s always believing the ball is going to fall for him and it’s a brilliant finish to beat a very good goalkeeper in Allan McGregor right in the corner. It gave the supporters something. When you see the players celebrating with the supporters and Rangers players on their knees, it’s a good point for us in the end considering the effects of Thursday night.

“I didn’t think there was a lot in the game other than I thought Rangers kept in their shape well and credit to them for that. We’re just disappointed we never played the ball in the right areas and I was maybe looking for a bit more from the ones who were a bit fresher from Thursday night.

“Scott McKenna we believe has torn his hamstring, which isn’t great. He’ll get a scan tomorrow and if it’s a tear the best case scenario is a couple of weeks and worst case could be six-eight weeks. That’s only to do with the effects of Thursday as when you play that level of game you’re more susceptible to those types of injuries.

“We’ve got six senior defenders in the building and four of them are injured or suspended so that’s something we’ll try and address this week because we need some help in that. We don’t have the squad that other teams have. Our bench was very young today, but one our young one did what he’s expected to do when he get’s his chance and I’m delighted for him.

“We need to address not only what we’re trying to do at the top end, but also bringing in some reinforcements at the back end.

“I thought the penalty was soft at the time and it doesn’t take a lot for Josh Windass to go down normally, but my staff have looked at it and they thought it was a penalty. I’m disappointed with a lot of the decisions today, but my team kept their composure and their discipline, which is always important in these types of games.

“The rules are it doesn’t matter how hard you kick – if you kick out you put yourself at risk. I don’t think you can have any complaints and for me if you lift your feet and lash out the laws of the game say it’s a red card. Discipline is very important.

“I concentrate on my own team and I didn’t think there was a huge difference between both sides. My team didn’t play anywhere near where they can, and I know my team’s better than they showed today. We’ve got a point and the players deserve a lot of credit after Thursday night’s excursions and they now get a couple of days off.”