Smith starts to fret over rusty Rangers
Rangers 0 Aberdeen 0
Sunday 27 September 2009
The glory, if there was any to be found here, was in the way Aberdeen set about restoring their self-esteem. This old ground has for so long represented a place only of bitterness and regret that they might have been overcome by angst, but they fought for something here, their own sense of worth, and this intent was at least recognised by the outcome.
For Rangers, it is now three consecutive 0-0 draws in the Premier League and doubt is beginning to gather around the ability of this team to deliver the best of itself under close scrutiny.
They saw much of the ball yesterday, but even in the urgency of the closing moments, when Kris Boyd nudged a header wide and Nacho Novo struck the post, they lacked the authority of a side that trusts itself to be decisive.
"We haven't quite reached the level of last season," said the champions' manager, Walter Smith. "Things need to click into place soon."
The visitors set out to at least hold firm, to reveal a heart of resolve that might in some way reduce the gravity of their task. It was almost 18 years to the day since they last won at Ibrox, and more accomplished sides than the one Mark McGhee was able to field have contributed to that stark history.
Their line-up here included a 16-year-old, Fraser Fyvie, in the centre of midfield, but he performed with such discipline, application and assurance that he reduced his age to nothing more relevant than a bare statistic. "It was an organised, hard-working performance," said McGhee. "The players stood up to be counted."
Rangers were intermittently effective and Jerome Rothen, during the first half in particular, carried a threat that was often convincing. Twice from free-kicks and once with a shot on the run, the Frenchman drew adroit saves from Aberdeen's goalkeeper Jamie Langfield.
Novo, with a stabbed shot that Andrew Considine headed away, might have turned the game in Rangers' favour early in the second half but instead they go into Tuesday's Champions' League match against Seville carrying a growing weight of uncertainty.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer latest: Arsene Wenger set to sign...no one on transfer deadline day as manager heads to Rome to referee charity match
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal offloads fringe players as he looks to the long term
Radamel Falcao transfer latest: Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City linked with blockbuster move
Tottenham to offer Andros Townsend to Southampton in £14m deadline day bid for Jay Rodriguez
Radamel Falcao to Manchester United: Striker hasn't played in Champions League since 2010
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court