Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has admitted that he was impressed by the way Rangers dominated possession during their 1-0 Scottish Premiership triumph at Pittodrie, speaking to the Dons’ official website.
In his second season as a permanent member of Steven Gerrard’s squad, it’s fair to say the pressure was on Ryan Kent to live up to that £7 million price-tag.
But, if the weekend’s opening day clash is anything to go by, the second-biggest signing in Rangers’ 148-year history might just have added that much-needed ruthless streak to his game at last.
After ending last season with two goals in his final five games, Kent used his trademark pace to burst away from the Aberdeen defence before slotting the winner past Joe Lewis in the 21st minute.
Rangers never really threatened a second despite the presence of Alfredo Morelos in attack – but it mattered not in the end as Gerrard’s title-chasing side monopolised 61 per cent of the possession and kept the hosts at arms’ length.
“I thought initially Rangers imposed themselves in possession, they are a possession-based team. Their movement at the top end of the pitch can give you that overload to deal with. We didn’t get our distances right to go and press,” says McInnes, who lost Andrew Considine to a late red card.
“For all the possession Rangers had, Joe (Lewis) has only had one save from (Ianis) Hagi which was from distance in the first half.
“I am disappointed that we have allowed Rangers to enjoy possession as much as they did in the first half an hour. They are a good team; they will do that to teams regularly this season.
“You have to say that Rangers played well in the first half in terms of their possession.”
It was functional but hardly fearsome in Rangers’ first game back after a four-month lay-off.
The same cannot be said, however, about a Celtic side who have begun the 2020/21 campaign with an Odsonne Edouard-inspired 5-1 thrashing of Hamilton Academical.