Rangers returned to competitive action today and got their 2020/21 Premiership campaign underway with a narrow 1-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Playing in a meaningful fixture for the first time since their Europa League last 16 match against Bayer Leverkusen at Ibrox back on March 12, Steven Gerrard’s side performed well.

A first-half Ryan Kent goal ensured Gerrard’s men overcame Derek McInnes’s charges and collected their first three points of the season.

Alfredo Morelos, who has been heavily linked with a transfer to French club Lille in recent days, led the visitors’ line and set up Kent for his strike with a defence-splitting pass.

No fans were allowed inside the stadium due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions, but seeing Scottish football return after a four-and-a-half month shutdown was reason for supporters everywhere to cheer. 

Gerrard handed a first team debut to Leon Balogun, the Nigerian centre half who joined Rangers last month after being released by Brighton, in his defence and left George Edmundson on the bench.

Bologun wasn’t seriously tested – Allan McGregor only had one shot, a Funso Ojo effort which deflected off the new recruit, of note to save during the course of the 90 minutes – in a match his side dominated.

But the 32-times capped 32-year-old impressed. He looked good both in the air and with the ball at his feet. He also played on after he knocked his head against the post in the second-half. Edmundson, Filip Helander and, when he recovers from his knee injury, Nikola Katic have competition for a place.  

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, without both Sam Cosgrove and Curtis Main due to injury, fielded Bruce Anderson, up front and also gave Ronald Hernandez, his Venezuelan right back, just his second start.

Jonny Hayes, who returned to Pittodrie back in June after parting company with Celtic, slotted into the Aberdeen side just in front of Hernandez.

Rangers edged in front in the 21st minute after James Tavernier fed Morelos. The forward supplied Kent and Ash Taylor failed to track his run. The winger showed great composure to slot a low shot past Joe Lewis.

But the away side failed to build on that goal despite controlling possession. Ianis Hagi had a long-range attempt saved by Lewis in the 32nd minute and then saw a shot deflected past the post after being teed up by Morelos in the 67th minute.

Scott Arfield came on for Hagi and was the victim of a shocking challenge by Andrew Considine in the 87th minute which referee Bobby Madden had no hesitation showing the Aberdeen left back a straight red card for.

Taylor slid in to prevent a Joe Aribo shot going into the Aberdeen goal in injury-time, but it made no difference to the final outcome.