'I'm feeling a change': Rangers cling on to sour Neil Warnock's Aberdeen bow and draw level with Celtic in now gripping title race

Only one goal separates the two Old Firm clubs after 24 matches as Clement’s men continue to make ground

This 2-1 victory was not quite enough to nudge Rangers ahead of Celtic at the top of the Premiership standings, but in what is now turning into a captivating title race, the Ibrox club are level on 58 points with the champions.

Only one goal in the goal difference stakes separates the Old Firm with both having played 24 games, although Celtic have the chance to move ahead if they get a positive result at Easter Road against Hibs on Wednesday. They will travel east knowing that the pressure is on. Their lead has been eroded by Rangers since Philippe Clement arrived on these shores.

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Rangers were not at their best against a gritty Dons team but found a way to sour Neil Warnock's first match as Aberdeen manager. Todd Cantwell was the hero with his 72nd-minute goal. The hosts had earlier led thanks to Rabbi Matondo effort before Bojan Miovski levelled.

Todd Cantwell (L) celebrates with Fabio Silva after scoring to make it 2-1 to Rangers against Aberdeen.Todd Cantwell (L) celebrates with Fabio Silva after scoring to make it 2-1 to Rangers against Aberdeen.
Todd Cantwell (L) celebrates with Fabio Silva after scoring to make it 2-1 to Rangers against Aberdeen.

Last time Aberdeen were at Ibrox, they won 3-1 back in September and it cost then Rangers boss Michael Beale his job. The man in the Dons dugout has changed since too, with Warnock in for Barry Robson. The 75-year-old experienced his first taste of Scottish football and wasn't shy in speaking to the officials throughout. His men remain eighth in the league.

Rangers made a fast, purposeful start and scored on seven minutes, Jamie McGrath's pocket was picked by Matondo, with the ball quickly shuttled out to the opposite flank. Ross McCausland's tame low shot ought to have been better fielded by Kelle Roos, who weakly palmed it straight into the path of Matondo to lash home from close range.

Aberdeen had shown little threat but equalised right on the 45-minute mark. It was through Miovski – who else? A hooked ball over the top from Connor Barron allowed the North Macedonian to outmuscle Connor Goldson and he finished smartly past Butland, just three days after netting against Celtic. This was his 20th goal of a fruitful campaign.

Aberdeen nearly scored two minutes after the restart, with John Lundstram looking lively to head off his own line from a Nicky Devlin effort. Rangers responded, Matondo having an effort blocked and Cyriel Dessers spurning the follow-up, firing straight at Roos. Clement had seen enough of his now spluttering forward line and summoned striker Fabio Silva and winger Oscar Cortes to replace Matondo and Dessers, who was visibly disappointed at being hooked before the hour-mark.

The Dons were dropping deeper and deeper. Lawrence, becoming more influential with space in front of him, saw a shot blocked by Roos' foot on 66 minutes. Aberdeen did not heed that warning. Six minutes later, Lawrence's stinging drive from 25 yards was well saved by Roos but Cantwell was quick to pounce on the loose ball and slide home for his fifth goal in eight matches.

Aberdeen tried to rally but Rangers clung on, not helped by a bad tackle from Dujon Sterling on Jack MacKenzie that earned him a red card on 88 minutes. Referee Don Robertson was invited by VAR to review the decision but in a rare moment, he stuck with his original call. Moments later, Butland scrambled to save during a melee and then Duk, with the last kick of the game, fired a set-piece just wide.

"I’m feeling it, I’m feeling a change, I’m feeling in the air,” blared out over the tannoy at the end as the Rangers fans basked in their anthem by Sunset Bros X Marc McCabe. Over to Celtic now to prove them wrong.