Rangers win Viaplay Cup as James Tavernier downs Aberdeen

James Tavernier was the Rangers hero as the Light Blues picked up their first trophy of the Philippe Clement era with a 1-0 Viaplay Cup final win over Aberdeen.
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The prolific Ibrox skipper rifled in the winner in the 75th minute of a hard-fought encounter at Hampden Park to hand his Belgian boss his first trophy after just a few months at Ibrox.

The victory completed the clean sweep of domestic trophy wins for the full-back and it also meant Clement remains unbeaten in 14 games since taking over from Michael Beale in October.

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It was the 28th time the Ibrox club have won the trophy – the first since 2011 – and they still have interest in the title and Europa League this season, with the Scottish Cup yet to start, so Gers fans will be hoping more success is on its way.

Rangers' players celebrate winning the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden Park, Glasgow. PIC: Steve Welsh/PA WireRangers' players celebrate winning the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden Park, Glasgow. PIC: Steve Welsh/PA Wire
Rangers' players celebrate winning the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden Park, Glasgow. PIC: Steve Welsh/PA Wire

Both sides went into the game on a wet and windy Glasgow afternoon in fine fettle.

Rangers’ stunning 3-2 win away to Real Betis on Thursday night took them into the last 16 of the Europa League. Although the Dons were already out of the Europa Conference League, their 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt was more than commendable.

There was a further boost with the return of forward Bojan Miovski from a hamstring issue while skipper Graeme Shinnie, Leighton Clarkson, Jamie McGrath, Nicky Devlin, Richard Jensen and Jonny Hayes also returned.

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Leon Balogun, Todd Cantwell and Dujon Sterling were back for Rangers, who had not beaten their opponents in two games this season.

However, both sides were below par in the first half.

On the half-hour mark Gers attacker Abdallah Sima took a pass from Cantwell inside the Aberdeen box but his low drive on the turn, no more than decent, was saved by Dons keeper Kelle Roos.

Rangers winger Ross McCausland had the ball in the Aberdeen net in the 39th minute but referee Don Robertson had blown for an infringement inside the Dons box.

The first half ended with Aberdeen’s Stefan Gartenmann heading Clarkson’s free-kick wide from 14 yards before McCausland missed the target with a header from a Cantwell delivery.

More was expected after the interval.

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Dons attacker Ester Sokler failed to get a touch on an inviting Devlin cross from just a few yards out and at the other end, Roos blocked a shot from McCausland who was on the stretch but the corner came to nothing.

Roos then made crucial saves from a Cyriel Dessers strike and free-kicks from Tavernier and left-back Borna Barisic before Balogun flashed the ball over the bar from a Cantwell cutback.

There was a Rangers penalty appeal when a shot from substitute Scott Wright, on for McCausland, hit the top of Gartenmann’s arm but play moved on – and soon the Light Blues were ahead.

Barisic made it to the byline and his deep cross from the left landed at Tavernier, who took a touch and fired it in off the ground past Roos to send the blue section of Hampden into raptures.

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Aberdeen battled back and there were some nervy moments in the Gers defence. Close to the end of six added minutes, there was a goalmouth melee in the Rangers box involving several players following a corner – a VAR check for a possible red card offence came to nothing, although it was not clear who was at risk.

The final whistle soon followed, as did Light Blue celebrations.