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Rangers’ Ryan Kent (left) celebrates his side’s opening goal with James Tavernier in the Scottish Championship game at Ibrox
THE finish line is still in sight but the Rangers continue to take small steps towards it Another game may be barred as another victory has been recorded
The international break hasn’t interrupted the momentum of Steven Gerrard’s squad In truth, very little has got so far this season and the win over Aberdeen was as routine as they could have hoped for as they picked up where they left off
It wasn’t as emphatic as Hamilton’s 8-0 pounding, but this victory – won thanks to goals from Ryan Kent, Kemar Roofe, Scott Arfield and James Tavernier – was just as important to Rangers in both games as Celtic a in hand should be factored in, but an 11-point lead is important for the Rangers, as is how they conduct their business so impressively these days.
The opportunity to expand their double-digit advantage atop the Premiership was an opportunity the Rangers couldn’t afford to pass up here.However, the focus remains on what they do rather than the fortunes of their Old Firm rivals as they focus on themselves
News of Celtic’s Easter Road draw would undoubtedly have been warmly received on Saturday afternoon, but it would have been redundant if Rangers had not taken charge of business at Ibrox This is exactly what they did
The mantra of one game at a time can be used in somewhat cliché terms these days, but the messages Gerrard insists on are continually repeated by his team. A shift in mindset and high levels of determination have been brought to light with this term and encounters – even potentially delicate like this one – are approached with calm and confidence.
There’s a different feel around Gerrard’s side right now and they play with a poise and composure that suggests they might just go the distance this time around.
When matches like this are handled in such a professional and relatively straightforward manner, it becomes difficult to control expectations and levels of excitement, but no one in Ibrox, on or outside the park, can afford to. get ahead with so much work to do be finished
The game wasn’t quite won at the break, but Rangers were on track thanks to Kent – who should have opened the scoring in four minutes as Joe Lewis refused him – and Roofe, still improving and impressive
Fans had been looking forward to seeing these two, perfectly fit and shooting, alongside Alfredo Morleos in the Ibrox attack and they would make their wish come true here. While Morelos was a frustrating figure at times, both of his sides were superb in terms of movement and vision, especially in preparing for their respective goals 15 minutes apart.
Kent’s touch that saw him nutmeg Funso Ojo was formidable, as was Roofe’s as he collected a dink on top of Connor Goldson Guardian Lewis was left defenseless on both occasions, but the goals were more than deserved for the Rangers
Kent’s strike deflected Thomas Hoban and pulled away from Lewis, while Roofe finished strong after careful footwork to make his way through the area
These were defining moments, but not the only impressive ones for Rangers as they moved the ball with purpose and were once again entertaining and exciting to watch
If referee Nick Walsh hadn’t inexplicably dismissed the penalty calls when Ojo knocked out Roofe, the game might well have been beyond the Dons at the break.
The exhausted ranks that Derek McInnes was able to field had grown in the encounter and threatened by sporadic spells Sam Cosgrove and Ryan Hedges were turned down from tight angles by Allan McGregor, while Goldson’s impeccably timed block turned Hedges down as the Rangers found themselves exposed
The absences of Lewis Ferguson, Ross McCrorie and Connor McLennan had undoubtedly hurt Aberdeen’s chances here and McInnes’s anger was well placed. His team were generally engaged but were never going to cause the Rangers any anguish and deny them another Premiership victory
McInnes must have felt like his luck ran out before a ball was kicked thanks to the injury and Covid issues he had to deal with When Arfield made three with a deflected strike that hit Shay Logan and left Lewis on the foot, the Pittodrie boss had to know it would be just one of those days
There was nothing unlucky about No.13 for Rangers minutes later as Tavernier moved on to that tally for the season Walsh spotted the offense this time around as Andy Considine battled Leon Balogun and Tavernier converted to highlight Rangers dominance
Other goals could and should have happened for the Rangers, but they were not needed on this occasion as the points were comfortably collected According to custom, this is the best of all for the Rangers
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