ABERDEEN came from two goals down to deny Rangers three points at Pittodrie tonight in the Scottish Premiership.
Leading 2-0 after an outstanding opening period to the game through Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack, Jon Gallagher pulled one back before the break and then Andy Considine netted a leveler soon after the restart.
From the side which hammered Hearts 5-0 on Sunday, boss Steven Gerrard made two changes. Borna Barisic missed out through injury and was replaced by Jon Flanagan, while Ryan Jack came in for Glen Kamara.
The very early stages of the game saw Gers have almost total ownership of the ball, and while they won a number of free-kicks in decent positions to cross, they came to nothing.
The first real chance then came for the visitors on 10 minutes. In trying to play the ball back to goalkeeper Joe Lewis, Greg Leigh got the ball caught under his foot, allowing Alfredo Morelos to pounce.
From around 35-yards out on the right, the Colombian ran in on goal but his effort from just inside the area was well turned around the post by Lewis.
Morelos then had a dipping effort from around 20-yards held by Lewis before, on 18 minutes, the seemingly inevitable opening goal arrived for Rangers
Beginning in midfield, Joe Aribo did superbly to win a loose ball from Zak Vyner before carrying it forward and playing it right for James Tavernier.
His cross was quite superb, and hit Scott Arfield for him to sweep home first-time with his right foot into the bottom corner.
It was Arfield’s third goal of the season, and the very least Gers deserved for an exceptional start to the match.
The visitors continued to dominate proceedings – and on 30 minutes, Ryan Jack came back to haunt his old club with goal number two.
Again, the Dons were slack in midfield, with Ryan Kent this time the one to nick-in to collect the loose ball. He played it to the right for Morelos to get a shot away, but this time, Lewis spilled.
Steaming in to finish into an empty net was Jack – this being his fifth strike of the season.
Against the run of play, however, Aberdeen pulled themselves back to within a goal on 39 minutes. James Wilson did well on the right to break into the area, and he got the ball onto Jon Gallagher who steadied himself before getting the ball into the net despite the best efforts of Filip Helander and Tavernier.
The home side began the second half well, and after Allan McGregor made a superb save to deny Gallagher a second, they drew level with their next attack.
The visiting defence blocked a Sam Cosgrove effort on the end of a Shay Logan cross, the ball ran loose for Andy Considine, and he had the simple task of tapping home the loose ball at the back post.
McGregor had a simple catch from a Leigh header soon after, while Cosgrove somehow nodded a Lewis Ferguson corner wide at the back post from only a few yards out.
Lewis then saved from a Morelos drive with the Colombian set-up well by Kent after a lung-bursting run before the Light Blues had a claim for a penalty given only as a free-kick as Kent was felled by Ferguson on the edge of the area.
A deflected Jack shot was saved easily by Lewis, while the ‘keeper made an excellent stop from a Tavernier free-kick from inside the ‘D’ with three minutes left, doing superbly to turn it around his left post.
Morelos had a super opportunity in injury time when he found himself free at the back post from a Tavernier crossed free-kick, but McKenna did superbly to block his effort.
That was to be the final effort of the game, and Rangers move onto the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday.
RANGERS: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic; Jack, Davis, Arfield (Ojo, 77); Aribo, Morelos, Kent (Katic, 90).
SUBS NOT USED: Foderingham, Defoe, Halliday, Kamara, Stewart.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Logan, Taylor, McKenna, Considine (McLennan, 81), Vyner, Leigh, Ferguson, Gallagher, Wilson (Hedges, 74), Cosgrove.
SUBS NOT USED: Cerny, Devlin, Campbell, Anderson, Main.
REFEREE: John Beaton