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Aberdeen's Ash Taylor relishing battle with Morelos ahead of Rangers clash

Aberdeen's Ash Taylor relishing battle with Morelos ahead of Rangers clash
© Reuters
The centre-back will fulfil the Scott McKenna role for Dons by trying to keep Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos under wraps.

Ash Taylor insists he is ready to take on the Scott McKenna role if Alfredo Morelos decides to get physical with Aberdeen at Ibrox.

Former Dons defender McKenna enjoyed several scrapes with Rangers' Colombian hitman before winning a move to Nottingham Forest earlier this season.

The pair famously clashed in a Premiership curtain-raiser two years ago, with the Rangers striker receiving a red card after kicking out at his Reds foe.

That dismissal was later overturned on appeal but both men found themselves heading for an early bath again after another ugly collision in their next Pittodrie clash a few months later.

But even when he is staying out of trouble, Morelos loves nothing better than going head-to-head with his direct opponents in a physical tussle.

And with McKenna now plying his trade south of the border at the City Ground, Taylor says he is ready to step into the breach as he vowed to get to grips with Morelos when Aberdeen visit Govan on Sunday.

"I enjoy those kind of battles," said the English centre-back. "We defenders love that physical side of the game and I certainly do being a big lad myself.

"So I'll give as good as I get, if not more.

"There are different challenges depending on the striker you're up against. I have a bit more experience now so I know how to adjust my game depending on who I play against."

However, Taylor might not get much of a chance to have a wrestle with the Light Blues frontman if Morelos continues his recent ploy of dropping deep looking to link up with Steven Gerrard's midfield.

That tactic was key when Rangers kicked off the season with a victory at Pittodrie back in August. Morelos peeled away from his marker before turning to slot through the on-rushing Ryan Kent to slot home the only goal.

That was the only time Taylor felt his side switched off on the opening day but he admits they will have to do a lot more in the Gers half if they are to hand Gerrard's unbeaten side their first bloody nose of the campaign.

"I'm not entirely sure how Morelos will play this weekend," he said. "When we played Rangers at the start of the season, he was dropping a little bit deeper, which allowed other runners to go on ahead.

"It was hard to get up against him at those times because you don't want to go into those areas as a defender.

"You've just got to communicate and make sure everyone ahead of you is switched on ready to nullify that.

"But I have noticed a difference in Morelos' game and he is dropping a little bit deeper this season. I'm not sure if that's something that's been asked of him or a change he wants to make himself.

"The first game was disappointing and doesn't really reflect how we've been playing this season.

"Defensively we were good but that little bit of keeping the ball and getting into the final third was disappointing.

"But we've picked up since then, we've looked more of a threat and we'll look to take that into Sunday's game."

Rangers are flying high at the top of the table but Derek McInnes' team have been on a decent run themselves, going unbeaten since their shock defeat to Motherwell back in September.

Taylor added: "It's going to be a tough challenge against Rangers, it always is, especially away from home.

"But we're Aberdeen Football Club, we're a big club ourselves, and we've got a squad that's capable of winning down there like we have done previously. We need to go with the confidence and positive mindset we've shown in recent games and look to take the three points."

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Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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8Motherwell00000000
9RangersRangers00000000
10Ross County00000000
11St Johnstone00000000
12St Mirren00000000

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