Joe Aribo’s Super Eagles duo and new addition Leo Balogun played 90 minutes when the Rangers fired Aberdeen 1-0 when the Scottish Premier League resumed on Saturday.
Steven Gerrard was pleased with the resistance shown by the Rangers when they managed to deny Celtic a tenth consecutive Scottish Premier League title with a winning start.
Ryan Kent scored the only goal in the Scottish Premier League Game 1 for 147 days after the 2019/20 season ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rangers lost a series of winning position points in the second half of last season to finish 13 points behind Celtic when the season dwindled in March.
And Gerrard was pleased that his team watched the game comfortably despite not being able to add to his leadership.
“I am pleased that we have shown signs today that we are able to stay there and get over the line,” the former Liverpool captain told Sky Sports.
“In an ideal world, we want it to look great in every game, but over the course of 38 games you have to stay tough, stay together and put your body on the line. They pushed us all the way, but these are three important points.” .
Both sides struggled to adapt to their new fanless environment at Pittodrie for a traditionally intense encounter on and off the field.
“I will enjoy the victory, but from a very young child it was all about the fans for me,” added Gerrard. “Unfortunately, we never had the ending with us today. For me, fans should come back as soon as possible, when it’s safe. “
Alfredo Morelos has been linked to a large money move to Lille over the past week, but the Rangers insist the French team has not come close to matching their assessment of the Colombian, who played his role in the winner.
Morelos chose Kent’s career, who timed his career perfectly and passed Joe Lewis in the far corner in 21 minutes.
Despite the possession dominance of the visitors, neither side had much opportunity to increase the score.
Aberdeen lacked its two first-choice forwards at Sam Cosgrove and Curtis Main and it was shown that the Dons failed to register a shot at target.
“The rangers had a lot more possession in the first half than we would have liked, but that said Joe only had one save to make,” said Aberdeen chief Derek McInnes.
“We put ourselves in good positions and that quality was not there for us.”
A wild lunge by Andrew Considine into Scott Arfield gave Aberdeen even more of a mountain to climb four minutes after the defender received a direct red card.
And only a brilliant block from Ash Taylor denied that Joe Aribo added a second for the Rangers in halftime.