First-half strikes from Scott Severin and Steve Lovell earned three points for the Reds and few would argue that their deserved their victory in a match which Rangers failed make an impression in.

Walter Smith shuffled his backline due to the return of Alan Hutton at right-back with Sasa Papac joining Davie Weir in the heart of defence and Ian Murray on the left.

The absence of Brahim Hemdani due to a family bereavement meant that Gavin Rae was also included in the starting eleven in what was his last outing as a Rangers player.

The home support were clearly up for this fixture prior to the kick-off and their team responded with a strong opening to the match although chances were few and far between.

This all changed on 21 minutes when Severin smashed home the first goal of the game.

Jamie Smith neatly headed the ball to the midfielder who looked up before sending a stunning right-foot shot from 25-yards beyond Allan McGregor.

The fired up Aberdeen players were clearly in the mood with so much at stake but Lovell showed a bit too much enthusiasm when he caught McGregor with a late challenge after they went for a 50/50 ball on 25 minutes.

Both players squared up and, as a result, referee Craig Thomson was quick to issue the first bookings of the game.

With tempers flared Nacho Novo was next to receive a yellow card for a rash tackle on Pittodrie captain Russell Anderson.

On 30 minutes Aberdeen again showed their intent when Miller fed the ball through to Lovell on the right side of the 18-yard box and the striker smacked the ball off the crossbar from a tight angle.

This was a warning for the Gers backline as the same players combined – this time on the left – to double their side’s advantage only two minutes later.

With McGregor rushing out Lovell managed to lift the ball over the keeper and Papac and Murray could not stop it from squirming into the net.

Charlie Adam had a late attempt with a free-kick from 25 yards which sneaked by Jamie Langfield’s post but apart from that the keeper was not tested enough in the opening period.

It was clearly a frustrating half for the Gers’ management team to endure and Smith and Ally McCoist looked grim-faced as they walked down the tunnel to face their players at the interval.

Both teams returned to the pitch with rain battering down on the playing surface but Rangers, donning their new home kit for the 2007/08 season, would have been hoping to make amends for their poor first-half display. 

Smith made one change to his team for the restart with Chris Burke replacing Nacho Novo and it was not long before Calderwood introduced veteran Craig Brewster and Karim Touzani to proceedings for Miller and Michael Hart respectively.

At the hour mark, however, the Light Blues had failed to put any further pressure on the Langfield’s goal and it was inevitable that more alterations would be made to the Gers tactics.

On 65 minutes it was Murray Park starlet Steven Lennon that was given a run-out in place of Kris Boyd in an attempt to salvage at least a point from this trip to the Granite City.

Boyd looked to be injured as he walked from the field and Lennon immediately moved into attack with Burke joining him in the last third.

Indeed it was the flame haired winger who had arguably Rangers best attempt at goal of the entire game when he spun away from his marker on 71 minutes and curled a left-foot shot from 20 yards which clipped the crossbar with Langfield well beaten.

This was to be the only highlight from what proved to be a disappointing second-half and Aberdeen were, perhaps understandably, content to hold on to their two-goal advantage.

In the end they were to get the three points they craved to secure European football and for Rangers it will now be a case of looking ahead to next season with renewed hope and ambition.

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