By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
A late Jamie Smith goal condemned Rangers to a 3-2 defeat at Aberdeen.A late Jamie Smith goal condemned Rangers to a 3-2 defeat at Aberdeen with Fernando Ricksen's second half sending off proving a key factor.
Two goals in seven first half minutes from Russell Anderson and Steve Lovell had put Aberdeen in control at Pittodrie, but the visitors quickly replied through Dado Prso and Peter Lovenkrands grabbed a leveller shortly after the interval.
However, having seized the initiative The Gers immediately handed it back when Ricksen was dismissed for his second bookable offence and it proved decisive as Smith popped up to claim a late winner.
As with all Rangers trips to Aberdeen, the game started at a frantic pace with plenty of fierce challenges.
It was the hosts who made the breakthrough on the half hour when Rangers failed to adequately deal with a free kick, Robert Malcolm's attempted clearance fell for Anderson (pictured) who threw himself into a brave header which beat Ronald Waterreus.
The lead was doubled on 37 when Smith played in Lovell who showed excellent composure to turn Malcolm and slot home.
But the home fans' celebrations were quickly muted when Prso got up well to thump home a header from Ricksen's corner.
The Dutchman then blotted his copybook by being cautioned for one foul too many on Scott Severin and it was later to prove a costly infringement.
Rangers were back on terms just four minutes into the second period; substitute Steven Thompson dug out a cross to Lovenkrands who produced a superb bicycle kick that gave Ryan Esson no chance.
Ricksen then received his marching orders after a challenge on Kevin McNaughton that actually left him on the ground in pain, but it did not sway referee John Underhill who produced a second yellow and then a red card when the Dutchman rose.
The hosts pushed on in a bid to find a winner and were ultimately rewarded just two minutes from time when former Celtic man Smith sent the home fans into raptures with a low drive from the edge of the box after a poor clearance from Maurice Ross.
Hearts took advantage of Rangers' slip to move back to the top of the table with an emphatic 3-0 win at Dundee United which mainatins their 100 percent start to the league season.
George Burley's men turned in a slick display and found themselves two up after just 12 minutes.
Skipper Steven Pressley got the ball rolling on six minutes when he diverted a Rudolf Skacel free kick home and Czech star Roman Bednar made it two when he made the most of some slack defending to drive home at the far post.
United showed more fight after the break, but could not prevent Skacel putting a real gloss on the scoreline in the dying moments when he converted Bednar's cross.
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