(Reuters) – Former England midfielder Steven Gerrard was denied a win in his first Scottish Premiership game in charge of Rangers on Sunday when Aberdeen snatched a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw after the visitors were reduced to 10 men at Pittodrie.
Aberdeen teenager Bruce Anderson scored in stoppage time on his debut to cancel out James Tavernier’s penalty on the half-hour as Rangers battled for more than 80 minutes without Alfredo Morelos who was sent off for a kick at Scott McKenna.
“I thought we were magnificent,” said Gerrard. “I thought we were very good with 11 men, I thought we were even better when we went down to 10. Aberdeen didn’t have any idea against us.
“For 93 minutes it was perfect, I’m gutted for my players, we conceded so late on but we’re a class above Aberdeen.”
Gerrard took over at Rangers in May and has brought in 10 players as he looks to end the dominance of Glasgow rivals Celtic, who have won the league for seven straight years.
Celtic won an unprecedented ‘double-treble’ last season with victories in the league and both domestic cup competitions.
Brendan Rodgers’s side began their title defence with a comfortable 3-1 home win over promoted Livingston on Saturday.
Rangers had conceded their first goal in four matches under Gerrard on Thursday in the Europa League but a 1-1 draw with Osijek put them in the third qualifying round.
On Sunday, it took Aberdeen 75 minutes to have a shot on Rangers’ goal but 19-year-old Anderson took his chance with a low shot past Allan McGregor three minutes into added time.
Tavernier had given the visitors the lead from the penalty spot after Dominic Ball fouled Josh Windass.
“It’s frustrating because we put in so much effort, every single player to a man was excellent tactically. We were very good, very professional,” the 38-year-old Gerrard, smartly dressed in suit and tie on a sunny day, told Sky Sports.
“Aberdeen only had one idea, to lump it in the box, and I’m pleased with the players, I’m delighted and I can’t go away from here disappointed with any of them.”
Gerrard added that Rangers would consider an appeal against Morelos’s red card, the first of his professional career.
“You leave the referee with a decision if you kick out, but the disappointing thing is he has been barged clearly and whoever’s spotted the red card should have spotted that too.”
(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Clare Fallon)