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Preview: Aberdeen vs. Rangers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between Aberdeen and Rangers, including team news and predicted lineups.

The 2020-21 Scottish Premiership campaign will kick off on Saturday lunchtime as Aberdeen welcome Rangers to the Pittodrie Stadium.

The two clubs finished 22 points apart upon the curtailment of last season, with Rangers securing the runners-up spot while Aberdeen clinched fourth and a route into the Europa League.


Match preview

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes pictured in April 2019© Reuters

The new season of Scottish football is kicking off with what promises to be a fascinating encounter between two of the country's most successful sides.

Aberdeen ended their 2019-20 campaign with a 3-1 victory over Hibernian before the decision was taken to end the season early, and Derek McInnes's men will undoubtedly be raring to go as they set their sights on a top-three finish this time around.

The Dons only finished one point behind third-placed Motherwell as the 2019-20 season was decided on a points-per-game basis, but Aberdeen's pre-season form has certainly left a lot to be desired heading into the visit of Rangers.

Indeed, McInnes witnessed his side share the spoils with Ross County and Hibernian either side of a 2-1 defeat to St Johnstone in July, and Aberdeen are welcoming Rangers to a ground where they have only managed to accumulate one league win from five in 2020.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard before the match on February 26, 2020© Reuters

Meanwhile, the goal for Rangers this term is simple - find a way to stop Celtic from winning their 10th Scottish Premiership title in succession.

Steven Gerrard's men ought to feel capable of dethroning the Bhoys this time around, although Rangers finished the 2019-20 campaign 13 points behind the 51-time champions, albeit having played a game fewer.

The Gers have not been handed a friendly opening fixture, but a victory for Gerrard's side here would see them lay down a marker before Celtic take to the field against Hamilton on Sunday.

Rangers excelled in pre-season as they claimed the Veolia Cup with victories over Lyon and Nice, and the Gers followed up their triumph in France with wins over Motherwell and Coventry City upon their return to Ibrox.

The three meetings between Rangers and Aberdeen last season saw Gerrard's men subject the Dons to a 5-0 drubbing at Ibrox before the clubs played out 2-2 and 0-0 draws later on in the campaign.


Team News

Sam Cosgrove in action for Aberdeen on December 2, 2018© Reuters

Aberdeen have been dealt a huge blow ahead of the new season, with prolific striker Sam Cosgrove facing a spell on the sidelines until December after sustaining a knee injury in the draw with Hibs.

Cosgrove netted 23 times for the Dons last term, but McInnes will have to make do without the 23-year-old for the next few months, meaning that 21-year-old Bruce Anderson could be handed a start following a strong pre-season.

Aberdeen's only other injury concern is defender Michael Devlin, although McInnes has also admitted that Shay Logan is also touch-and-go for the first game of the season.

Speculation has been rife surrounding the future of Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos, who is reportedly nearing a move to Lille, but the South American is expected to start here nonetheless.

With Jermain Defoe out after suffering a hamstring injury in pre-season, Gerrard will certainly be keen to bolster his options up top should Morelos depart Ibrox this summer.

Croatian defender Nikola Katic has undergone surgery on a cruciate ligament injury and is expected to remain on the treatment table until 2021.

Aberdeen possible starting lineup:
Lewis; Logan, Taylor, McKenna, Considine; Ojo, Ferguson, Bryson; McLennan, Anderson, Kennedy

Rangers possible starting lineup:
McGregor; Tavernier, Edmundson, Goldson, Barisic; Kamara, Jack; Hagi, Aribo, Kent; Morelos


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We say: Aberdeen 1-2 Rangers

The absence of Cosgrove is sure to hamper Aberdeen's ambitions of a top-three finish this season, but the Dons are not to be taken lightly in any case. However, Rangers have hit the ground running in pre-season and we are backing Gerrard's men to claim all three points in the opening game of the 2020-21 campaign.


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Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

Who will win Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between Aberdeen and Rangers?

Aberdeen
Draw
Rangers
Aberdeen
23.8%
Draw
23.8%
Rangers
52.4%
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Alfredo Morelos in action for Rangers on December 12, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Hibernian22006246
2Ross County22002026
3Dundee UnitedDundee Utd21102114
4Celtic11005143
5RangersRangers11001013
6St Mirren11001013
7St Johnstone10101101
8Kilmarnock100112-10
9Aberdeen100101-10
10Motherwell200202-20
11Livingston200215-40
12Hamilton AcademicalHamilton200216-50

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