Kemar Roofe scored the only goal as Rangers left it late to move level with Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a 1-0 win over struggling Aberdeen at Ibrox.
Roofe struck from close range in the 81st minute to make it back-to-back wins for Rangers and keep the pressure on Celtic, who are top on goal difference before Sunday’s trip to Livingston. Rangers’ second-half improvement pleased the manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, after the well-organised visitors had frustrated his side in the first half.
“It was a game with two faces,” Van Bronckhorst said afterwards. “It had two different halves. In the first half, Aberdeen gave us a big challenge, they played well … second half it was a different game, we had a better tempo, stretched the pitch, passed better and played forward when we could.
“We were just waiting for the goal and [that] gave us the three points that we need,” the Dutchman added. “I said to the players that a game lasts 90 minutes and if you score within 90 minutes and extra time you win games.”
The Aberdeen manager, Jim Goodwin, is still waiting for his first win after four games in charge, and was left “extremely disappointed” by Roofe’s late winner. “I think we deserved a 0-0. Rangers won’t have enjoyed that 90 minutes,” said Goodwin, who also felt that Calvin Bassey had fouled Calvin Ramsay in the build-up to Roofe’s goal.
Craig Halkett rescued a point for third-placed Hearts as they drew 2-2 with Dundee United in a see-saw contest at Tannadice. Liam Boyce put the visitors in front just one minute into the game, but Liam Smith’s 30-yard strike levelled the game early in the second half. Nicky Clark’s penalty then put the hosts ahead before Halkett struck in the 81st minute.
Ross County moved into the top six with their third straight league win as Joseph Hungbo’s second-half penalty earned victory over St Mirren. The Staggies climb above Motherwell, who came from behind to draw 1-1 with Dundee at Fir Park. The bottom club took a surprise lead through Paul McMullan, but Joseph Efford earned a point for the hosts.
Dundee stay one point behind St Johnstone with a game in hand, as the Saints earned a point against Hibernian at Easter Road. Hibs edged up to fourth despite their third straight goalless draw, but are just one point above Motherwell in eighth place.