Neil Warnock Aberdeen

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 06: New Aberdeen manager Neil Warnock is seen during Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Aberdeen at Ibrox Stadium on February 06, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Neil Warnock Goes On The Attack . . . And Rangers’ Ball Boys Get An Earful

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By Gareth James

Neil Warnock has wasted little time before ruffling feathers in Scotland after questioning the attitude of Rangers’ ball boys.

The former Cardiff City manager queried the ball boys’ tactics after his first game as Aberdeen boss ended with a tense 2-1 defeat by Rangers which took the hosts level on points with Premiership leaders Celtic.

Warnock said: “It was my type of game that. My type of atmosphere. When you get the ball boys wasting time at the end in the last 10 minutes you know you’re doing well, don’t you?

“They must be coached very well, are they coached with the first team? They throw it back when they are losing and when they are winning they hide the ball under their jumpers.

“I didn’t think you did that at this level. That was a new one for me, that.”

The 75-year-old, appointed until the end of the season, saw his side go behind early to a Rabbi Matondo goal and while Dons striker Bojan Miovski levelled at the end of the first half, Todd Cantwell restored Rangers’ lead in the 73rd minute.

Rangers second-half substitute Dujon Sterling was shown a red card by referee Don Robertson in the 88th minute for a tackle on Jack MacKenzie – the official sticking with his decision despite the VAR asking him to check his pitchside monitor.

But the Light Blues saw out eight added minutes to move on to 58 points with Celtic, who have a superior goal difference.

Warnock was impressed with Miovski who scored his 20th goal of the season with a clever finish.

He said: “I said to him yesterday, ‘I’ve not seen one of you in the Premier League, never let alone in Scotland.

“I think he’ll get 30 goals for me this season. I said to him, ‘I’m glad the window is closed. You’ve got me now and I’ve got you’
“He’s super, a good lad with a good attitude. You don’t normally get strikers who work their socks off but he does that.

“And it was great to see a referee go across (to monitor) and not change his mind. We don’t get that in England.”

Rangers boss Philippe Clement will consider whether to appeal against Sterling’s red card, which he thought was harsh.

He said: “Yes, that’s something we need to decide as a club. I never make these decisions alone. It was a harsh decision for me. Dujon slipped and he hits the toes of the opponent.

“I didn’t see until now many red cards that you touch the opponent at his toes. If I look back, I cannot remember one moment.’

Clement was pleased with the unity shown in what was a hard-fought victory.

He said: “You get a knock there just before half-time and then it is important to stay calm and to continue what you are doing, not start to doubt.

“It is a big difference with a few months ago that the belief stays and everybody keeps on pushing to get the result. That was one circumstance and then the second is the red card 10 minutes before the end of the game.

“You need to struggle in those minutes, although it was not really a struggle. We even had chances to score a goal because we kept on going but it made it more difficult to finish the game.

“Maybe at the end it is good to show everybody how aligned everybody is in the club now, the fans and players, because it was amazing to feel this energy out of the stands in the last 10 minutes.”

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