Football: Dodds saves Dons

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Aberdeen. . . .2

Booth 13, Dodds pen 81

Rangers . . . .2

Hateley 42, Moore 71

Attendance: 21,000

HAVING started off as though they meant to play Rangers off the pitch, Aberdeen were very relieved in the end to squeeze a point from Rangers. Hesitancy dogs the Dons at home.

Aberdeen went in front when Scott Booth scored in 13 minutes - his fifth goal in two matches - and Rangers were toiling. Their defensive work was insecure, and the captain, Richard Gough, appealed constantly to Basile Boli not to stray from his defensive duties.

Rangers tightened up eventually, but Booth had already struck. Rangers' goalkeeper, Andy Goram, had to make a few good saves before the tide turned and Mark Hateley was able to pounce three minutes from the interval. Brian Laudrup collected the ball wide on the left and teased Gary Smith into a forlorn tackle. Laudrup then chipped the ball on to Hateley's head and he scored easily from close range against Michael Watt, the stand-in keeper.

Laudrup continued to inspire in the second half, and when Smith was ordered off for his second bookable offence - his first was for a foul on Laudrup - after he appeared to have used an elbow in dealing with Gordon Durie, it seemed as though Rangers would take greater control. They scored a second when, after 71 minutes, Craig Moore put the ball in the net - his first goal for Rangers - after an excellent build-up.

Victory celebrations were premature, because Aberdeen were awarded a penalty after 80 minutes. Brian Irvine tumbled in the box as he went for a cross ball and the referee, Les Mottram, decided either Hateley or Moore had fouled. Billy Dodds took the kick and scored.

Rangers could have won it in the closing seconds when Watt picked up a Stewart McKimmie back-pass. From the indirect free-kick it appeared as though the visitors had forced the ball over the line, but the referee blew for full time. Mottram's handling of the match was poor - he booked seven players as well as sending off Smith, but there was little malice throughout.

James Traynor writes for the Herald, Glasgow