ABERDEEN handed Rangers their first home defeat of the season on an evening of frustration for Steven Gerrard’s side.
Both sides were reduced to 10-men with red cards shown to Sam Cosgrove and Alfredo Morelos either side of half-time,with Scott McKenna’s early goal being the difference between the sides.
From the side which so impressively defeated Hearts with 10-men at Tynecastle on Sunday, out went the suspended Scott Arfield, Andy Halliday and Eros Grezda, with their places taken by Ryan Jack, Jon Flanagan and Glenn Middleton.
It was the home side who made a lively start to the match, knocking the ball about well and looking a real threat down the right with Daniel Candeias and James Tavernier.
However, on eight minutes with their first attack, Aberdeen took the lead. A free-kick from Niall McGinn midway inside the visitors half was initially won in the air by Sam Cosgrove, and with Gers flat-footed, the ball broke for Scott McKenna to turn the ball high over the reach of Allan McGregor and into the net.
From there, Gerrard’s men were huffing and puffing without creating much at all, while the Dons were doing pretty well at keeping the ball when they had the opportunity to do so.
The first real sight at goal for Gers arrived on 25 minutes, when a clever corner routine saw Tavernier play the ball to Alfredo Morelos, with the Colombian making a run to the front-post. He could find only the side netting, however.
Four minutes later, Tavernier found Lassana Coulibaly on the edge of the six-yard box, but he headed over the bar as finally, the home side were beginning to get some joy against the stuffy visitors.
Gers were then handed a further boost on 33 minutes, with referee Steven McLean showing a second yellow card to Cosgrove. Having been booked for an earlier late tackle on Gareth McAuley, the striker caught Connor Goldson late out on the wing with the ball not really there to be won.
While from there, the chances weren’t exactly flowing, Rangers were seeing so much more of the ball, and eventually, Middleton brought out a super save from Joe Lewis with the young winger seemingly about to find the bottom corner with a shot from the edge of the area.
A clearly unhappy Gerrard replaced Jon Flanagan with Kyle Lafferty at the interval, with Middleton switching to left-back in what appeared to be a 4-3-1-2 formation, with Candeias sitting in-behind Lafferty and Morelos.
The big Ulsterman brought out another decent save from Lewis after turning McKenna on the edge of the box before the rebound fell to Ryan Jack who again tested the big ‘keeper with the aid of a deflection.
Morelos then blasted over a Tavernier ball-in as he got himself loose of the defence at the back post, but that was to be his last chance on goal, with referee McLean showing him a second yellow card soon after for catching Graeme Shinnie in the face with his hand.
Lewis denied Ryan Jack in injury time from close range before Gareth McAuley headed straight at the goalkeeper in what was the final action of the match.
RANGERS: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, McAuley, Flanagan (Lafferty, 45); Jack, Coulibaly (Grezda, 53) Ejaria; Candeias, Morelos, Middleton.
SUBS NOT USED: Foderingham, Worrall, Halliday, McCrorie, Rossiter.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, McKenna, McGinn (Wright, 83), Cosgrove, Ferguson, Ball, McLennan (May,73), Lowe.
SUBS NOT USED: Cerny, Gleeson, Wilson, Campbell, Anderson.
REFEREE: Mr Steven McLean