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Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin aims to make Rangers fans’ anxiety ‘creep on to the pitch’ at Ibrox

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin. Image: SNS
Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin. Image: SNS

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin aims to go on the attack at Ibrox in a bid to get Rangers fans’ anxiety to “creep on to the pitch”.

The Reds face a Rangers side under mounting pressure following recent poor European and domestic results.

Rangers were dumped 3-0 away at Napoli on Wednesday and have lost all five of their Champions League group games.

The Ibrox side were also booed off the pitch in their last two Premiership home games against Livingston (1-1) and Championship Dundee (1-0 win).

Goodwin hopes to ramp up the home supporters’ frustration in the hope it derails the Gers when he takes Aberdeen to Ibrox on Saturday.

And he is ready to stick with his attacking set up which has fired the Dons to three straight wins.

Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin during the Premier Sports Scottish League Cup match against Partick Thistle.

Goodwin said: “We can’t allow Rangers any rhythm.

“We have to try to make the fans’ anxiety creep on to the pitch and that will hopefully have a negative impact on the pitch.

“The way we have set up in the last week-and-a-half has been good and has earned us some valuable wins.

“It would be silly of me to make wholesale changes and try to reinvent the wheel.

“People say if it’s not broken why try to fix it and at the moment we are in a good place.”

Aberdeen’s Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes, left, celebrates making it 2-1 against Motherwell with team-mate Bojan Miovski.

There is no ‘fear factor’ at Ibrox

Should Aberdeen beat Rangers, they will close the gap on the second-placed Ibrox club to just four points.

Recent winning form has elevated the Reds to third in the Premiership.

They have also set up a Premier Sports Cup semi-final clash with Rangers in January.

Goodwin overhauled his squad in the summer with 11 new signings secured.

The vast majority of the new additions were from outwith the Scottish Premiership.

Goodwin is confident the summer signings playing at Ibrox for the first time will have no fear.

And he aims to turn the expected hostile environment to the Dons’ advantage, saying: “All the guys are looking forward to it, especially the new lads.

“The reason why some of them came to Scotland is to test themselves against international quality players and play at top stadiums. They will be excited.

“I don’t think they will be overawed and there is no fear factor.

“Most of the new signings haven’t played at Ibrox and we tried to explain to them what to expect. We played some clips and said the atmosphere was always intense, but we have to use that to our advantage.”

Aberdeen players celebrate with the fans at full-time after beating Motherwell 2-1.

Take advantage of Gers’ Euro fatigue

Rangers had the rigours of a European clash against Napoli in Italy then a return flight home just three days ago.

In contrast, the Reds had a “deload” week to ensure they have as much energy as possible for Ibrox.

Goodwin said: “Our boys are really fresh as we’ve looked after them this week.

“We’ve had a bit of deload week, if you like, and we want to save as much energy as possible for the weekend.

Aberdeen’s Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes celebrates scoring to make it 2-1 at Motherwell with teammates and fans.

“Whereas Rangers had a massive game on Wednesday night.

“They probably didn’t get back into Glasgow until the early hours of Thursday morning.

“We’ve got to use all of those things to our advantage.

“And hopefully get the result required come 5pm on Saturday evening.”

‘The boys have put down some markers’

Aberdeen ended a poor run of away Premiership form last weekend when beating Motherwell 2-1.

Goodwin praised his side for the grinding out a gritty result.

However, he wants the Dons to deliver a stronger performance in terms of flair and possession at Ibrox.

He said: “We have shown we can dig in and grind out results.

“Motherwell wasn’t our best performance.

“We probably had twice as much possession and passes against Dundee United, but lost 4-0.

“It was a gritty and well organised display and we got the job done at Fir Park.

“We want to go to Ibrox and give a better account of ourselves in possession as it is something we have done well.

Penalty claim for Motherwell as Ricki Lamie is pulled in the box by Aberdeen skipper Anthony Stewart

“It’s three wins on the spin and I think the boys have put down some markers – beating Hearts (2-0) and getting to the semi-final of the Premier Sports Cup. And sitting third in the league, which is where we want to be as a minimum requirement.

“This group has set some high standards.

“However, it is important not to get carried away and not expect things to happen for us. We have to make it happen.

“That comes from hard work and this (Rangers game) is a difficult test.”

Goodwin wary of Rangers backlash

Rangers are in danger of crashing to the worst ever performance by a team in the Champions League group stages.

The Ibrox club have conceded 19 goals, scoring just once, in five defeats.

That, coupled with trailing leaders Celtic in the Premiership, has ramped up the pressure on the club.

Goodwin said: “You’ve always got to be wary of big teams in these situations.

“They have some big players, international quality, and no doubt their pride will be hurting at the moment.

“Especially off the back of how disappointing the Champions League group stage has been.

“They’ll be wanting to make amends. And I think they’ll be looking at this game on Saturday as an opportunity to get the crowd and their fans back onside.

“However, it will also show us how far away we are from the benchmark of closing the gap on Celtic and Rangers.”