Rangers extended their unbeaten run with another devastating Scottish Premiership victory, beating third-placed Aberdeen 4-0 at Ibrox.
After an 8-0 demolition of Hamilton before the international break, Rangers picked up where they left off against a top-four rival. After having an early chance saved, Ryan Kent (15) netted the first goal with a sensational curling effort to end a 10-game scoring drought.
Kemar Roofe (29) then doubled Rangers' lead with a low finish before two goals in as many minutes sucker-punched Aberdeen in the second half. Scott Arfield (49) made it three just after the break before James Tavernier (52) scored yet another penalty to round off a seventh successive victory in all competitions.
📊 Rangers in @spfl this season:— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 22, 2020
▪️ Best top division start after 15 games since 1967-68 (also W13 D2)
▪️Won all home 8 games, scored 28 & not conceded
▪️ First time they have kept clean sheets in their opening 8 home League games of a season pic.twitter.com/d1mJZnkAI6
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Rangers have won all 10 of their home games this season with just one goal conceded, and are now 11 points clear of Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership table. Aberdeen remain in third, four points behind Neil Lennon's side and one ahead of Hibernian in fourth.
How Rangers dismissed Aberdeen challenge
Rangers could have gone ahead inside four minutes but Joe Lewis made a superb save on his 200th Aberdeen appearance. Tavernier played a neat ball into Kent's feet, but Lewis stuck out a leg to see the effort loop behind as Kent tried to chip the goalkeeper. However, it was the Rangers forward who won their second battle with a sensational goal.
He picked up a pass from Arfield before driving towards the area and hitting a thunderous, curling strike that was almost diverted away as it pinged off Tommie Hoban's head. But it curled back on target, beating Lewis and hitting the bottom of the post before nestling into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season.
Rangers: McGregor (6), Tavernier (8), Goldson (8), Balogun (7), Barisic (6), Aribo (6), Jack (7), Arfield (7), Kent (8), Roofe (8), Morelos (6).
Subs used: Davis (6), Defoe (6), Kamara (6), Hagi (5), Ittem (5).
Aberdeen: Lewis (6), Hoban (6), Taylor (6), Considine (6), Logan (6), Ojo (6), Hedges (7), Leigh (6), Edmondson (6), Kennedy (6), Cosgrove (6).
Subs used: Main (5), Campbell (5), Hernandez (n/a), Duncan (n/a).
Man of the match: Kemar Roofe.
But Aberdeen soon started to find their feet and twice tested Allan McGregor. Sam Cosgrove forced a save from the goalkeeper at the near post as he tried to shoot on a tight angle. Then, another bursting run into the area from Ryan Hedges saw him take on the shot himself, but McGregor was ready at the post to strongly push the ball away.
- Rangers made two changes from the side that beat Hamilton. Jon McLaughlin and Jermain Defoe were replaced by Allan McGregor and Alfredo Morelos.
- Aberdeen made four changes. Connor McLennan, Ross McCrorie, Lewis Ferguson and Scott Wright all missed out, with Shay Logan, Greg Leigh, Funso Ojo and Ryan Edmondson coming into the XI.
Rangers then delivered another blow. It was a superb chipped pass from Connor Goldson that picked out Roofe on the left. He then darted into the area with the Aberdeen defence unable to stop him before hitting a low, chipped effort through a packed box, just lifting enough over Lewis.
It took Rangers just four minutes to add another in the second half with Aberdeen architects of their own downfall with another deflection. Some really positive play from Kent allowed him to drive across the top of the area before setting up an unmarked Arfield. A wonderful hit from the midfielder hit Shay Logan's back before rifling into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Rangers were awarded a penalty. Andy Considine was penalised for hauling Leon Balogun down during a corner and went into the book for his indiscretion. Tavernier stepped up to slot home again from the spot, with nine of his last ten goals against Aberdeen now being penalties.
From then on, Rangers were comfortable for the remainder on the game with half chances to add the fifth. Jermain Defoe, Cedric Itten and Ianis Hagi all going close but the job had already been done.
Man of the match - Kemar Roofe
After two goals against Hamilton, Roofe scored in his second successive game for Rangers having really started to find his feet in Glasgow. He cut through the Aberdeen defence like a hot knife on butter for his goal, hitting a lovely effort with pressure on all sides.
Speaking about Roofe, Sky Sports guest Charlie Mulgrew said: "It was a good team performance from Rangers, the rotation held Aberdeen in a back six for long spells of the game and a back five. But the movement for his goal was brilliant and he's one of Rangers' better players."
What the managers said
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said: "I'm very pleased. I thought we were dominant and strong throughout. We managed to get some players off the pitch who have been travelling a lot and playing a lot of minutes so I'm really pleased that I could use the squad, especially with Thursday as well.
"But four good goals, a clean sheet and maybe we could have had a few more towards the end so I can't ask for any more from the boys really.
"We knew we were going to get into certain areas of the pitch and then it's about your outcomes, getting your shots off, getting your crosses in, your combinations in play. The idea was to try and have as much movement as we can from everybody to try and create a lot of confusion and chaos for Aberdeen.
"Aberdeen had some issues before the game but I can't take anything away from my boys either, we were outstanding. We probably tried to walk it in towards the end instead of trying to get our shots off quicker, but the boys who are coming onto the pitch are keeping the level and standards up and are creating really good chances.
"We've had a very positive, strong start, there's no getting away from it. We keeping clean sheets, we're winning on a good run and we're in a fantastic place. But in terms of the stats and the numbers, we take no notice of it, we just focus on the next game, keeping moving along."
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said: "I thought there was plenty of effort from the team. We picked a team that we had to pick rather than the team we wanted to pick.
"We had a few things go against us, the first goal came off a deflection and it gets Rangers up and running. The second goal, I think we can do better, I don't know if it takes another deflection on the way in but we certainly had a couple of opportunities to make the tackle.
"At half-time, we spoke about starting the second half with a bit purpose. I think they scored the second goal in our best spell when we had a couple of opportunities but this is a good Rangers team.
"They make you work, they test your organisation and I thought box-to-box, we were actually pretty good. But it's another deflection for the third and then a penalty, which I thought was really soft. The big boy [Balogun] went down under very little contact, but it just feels like things were conspiring against us a little bit and it was a tough afternoon for us.
"But I've got to applaud the players for sticking with it. Everybody sticking to their own plan and own game, no one coming off their game. But the game is over as soon as that third goal goes in and we're disappointed because despite the problems we have, I thought the effort from the players was clear.
"Prior to today's game, we'd taken 26 from 33 points so we were in good form going into the game and we can't let a disappointing afternoon in the current situation we face with injuries and players not being available to us.
"We've got to make sure we knuckle down. A lot of the boys who haven't had a lot of football played today and they'll feel the effects of that more than others so we've got to make sure we're ready for the game against Hamilton on Wednesday and get back to winning ways pretty quickly."
Rangers are back in Europa League action on Thursday when they host Benfica at Ibrox; kick-off 8pm. They will then travel to Falkirk in the Scottish League Cup next Sunday; kick-off 5pm.
Aberdeen will also play in midweek, facing an away trip to Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership; kick-off 7pm. Their Scottish League Cup fixture will also be on the road, travelling to St Mirren on Saturday; kick-off 5.15pm.