Aberdeen 1 Rangers 1: Rangers play catch-up as McCulloch sees red

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The Independent Football

Rangers missed the opportunity to move level on points with leaders Celtic at the top of the Premier League, although they survived the dismissal of Lee McCulloch to earn a hard-fought draw with Aberdeen yesterday.

Rangers struck first when Charlie Adam scored from close range off a McCulloch cross, but McCulloch was then sent-off for kicking out at Scott Severin as tempers boiled over after Chris Clark's crude challenge on Alan Hutton.

Aberdeen restored parity with the final chance of the half when Lee Miller pounced after Allan McGregor could not gather Richie Byrne's cross, leaving Rangers two points behind Celtic albeit with two matches in hand.

The Aberdeen manager, Jimmy Calderwood, was critical of his side after they failed to take advantage of McCulloch's dismissal. And Zander Diamond was fortunate not to throw it all away for Aberdeen when he nearly scored an own goal in the 80th minute. Steven Naismith wriggled into the Aberdeen penalty area, drove in a cross and Diamond's sliced clearance somehow spun over the bar.

Another cross from Naismith just eluded Kris Boyd as, despite performing admirably in the wake of McCulloch's red card, Rangers had to settle for a point.

"I don't think we had the form of the day to go and win it," Calderwood said. "We didn't deserve to win it. We didn't create too many chances and they had a couple when big Kris (Boyd) came on."

Aberdeen's 4-0 Uefa Cup victory over FC Copenhagen last Thursday had raised expectations at Pittodrie. But Calderwood said: "It's probably a point gained because I don't think we had the pace in our game, our passing wasn't crisp. We've got a wee excuse maybe Thursday night but I didn't give them too much sympathy in the dressing room."

Calderwood accused his side of being "sluggish" in the early stages of yesterday's game and admitted they got little better once McCulloch went off. "Our passing was woeful and we never really got going," he said. "All credit to Rangers, they played well. I'm disappointed in my own team."

Goals: Adam (30) 0-1; Miller (45) 1-1.

Aberdeen: Langfield, Hart, Byrne, Diamond, Considine (Maguire 46), Clark (Mair 78), Nicholson, Severin (Touzani 46), Foster, Miller, Jamie Smith. Substitutes not used: Soutar, Lovell, Daniel Smith, Aluko.

Rangers: McGregor, Hutton, Weir, Cuellar, Whittaker, Naismith, Ferguson, Thomson, Adam, Cousin (Boyd 74), McCulloch. Substitutes not used: Carroll, Ehiogu, Papac, Hemdani, Furman, Efrem.

Referee: K Clark (Scotland).

Booked: Aberdeen Miller, Clark, Considine, Touzani; Rangers Hutton, Adam.

Sent Off: Rangers McCulloch (37).

Man of the match: Adam.

Attendance: 17,798.