Rangers shine in Denmark, Aberdeen fall to defeat
Rangers beat Midtjlland 4-2, while Aberdeen lost 2-0 to Rijeka in the Europa League.
Midtjylland 2-4 Rangers
Rangers put themselves within touching distance of a place in the Europa League play-off round with a 4-2 win over Midtjylland in Denmark.
Alfredo Morelos, Joe Aribo, Nikola Katic and Scott Arfield all found the net as the Scottish side earned a big advantage to take into next week's second leg at Ibrox.
After both sides had fashioned chances in the opening exchanges, it was Rangers who broke the deadlock three minutes before half-time. James Tavernier surged down the right flank and sent in an inviting cross that Morelos rose to head down through the legs of Jesper Hansen and into the back of the net.
After the restart the visitors picked up where they left off and were two to the good on 52 minutes. A counterattack saw Jordan Jones break and find Aribo with the midfielder setting himself before scoring with a powerful shot.
And four minutes later, Rangers looked to be cruising when Katic finished neatly after a cross into the box.
Midttjylland responded instantly and Ogochukwu Onyeka pounced on a defensive lapse to give his side a lifeline by shooting past Allan McGregor. Just after the hour the lead was cut again. Kaba swapped passes with Da Silva Ferreira to press forward before finishing with power.
Rangers added to their advantage again with 20 minutes left when Morelos turned provider, setting up Arfield and the midfielder drove a low shot past Hansen and into the bottom corner.
The sides meet again at Ibrox next week with a play-off tie against Legia Warsaw or Atromitos awaiting the winner.
Rijeka 2-0 Aberdeen
Aberdeen face an uphill battle to reach the play-off round after falling to a 2-0 defeat against Rijeka in Croatia.
The Dons have been in strong form in the early weeks of the season but found themselves on the back foot early on and struggling to stifle the home side.
While they made it to half-time with the score level, manager Derek McInnes would have seen that his side were lacking the attacking threat that had been on show in previous rounds.
Tibor Halilovic had been a danger man for Rijeka and he hit a shot wide just before the hour mark but minutes later his side were handed an easier way to break the deadlock. Antonio Colak went down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot, saying the player had been pulled back by Shay Logan. Aberdeen players protested but Colak picked himself up to fire the penalty home.
Aberdeen upped their offensive game and went hunting for a crucial away goal but couldn't make the breakthrough and they were punished just before full-time.
Former Ajax player Robert Muric found space to fire in a curling shot that flew beyond Lewis and left Aberdeen knowing they will have to be at their best at Pittodrie next week to keep their European campaign alive.