Aberdeen 1-2 Rangers: Ten-man Gers hold on at Pittodrie
By Robert O'Connor
Last Updated: 12/12/17 4:51pm
Rangers ground out a 2-1 win away at Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership.
Dons boss Derek McInnes saw his side fall behind after 14 minutes to a fine header from Danny Wilson, but they were offered a reprieve when former Aberdeen skipper Ryan Jack was sent off just before the hour mark for a high tackle on Stevie May.
Josh Windass doubled the lead for the 10-man Gers seven minutes later, though, before substitute Francis Ross offered Aberdeen hope with a brilliant free-kick which beat the dive of Wes Foderingham in the Rangers goal.
The hosts pressed hard for an equaliser but could not peg Rangers back, as the visitors leapfrogged their hosts into second place in the Premiership table.
Kenny Miller started up front for Rangers while David Bates made his first appearance of the season in the league. Aberdeen started with Stevie May up top.
Rangers knew a win would see them go above their opponents and they broke the deadlock just before the quarter-hour mark, Declan John hoisting a whipped cross into the box which was met by the head of Wilson whose looping header arched into the far corner of the goal.
Aberdeen struggled to find any attacking fluency as they sought a way back, and they had Lewis to thank for keeping them in the game when Windass collected the ball from Carlos Pena's lay-off and unleashed a low drive which the 'keeper did well to divert wide.
Rangers were inches away from conceding a leveller on the stroke of half-time, Jason Holt felled Greg Stewart wide on the right and, as the free-kick was floated in, Andrew Considine rose highest to crack a header off the underside of Foderingham's bar.
Aberdeen had led the Gers by six points before Wednesday's 3-0 defeat at Ibrox, and their grip on second place in the table looked like being further loosened when Kenny Miller chested down from Pena's pass and ran through on goal, but Dons 'keeper Joe Lewis threw up a strong hand to turn it over the bar.
Aberdeen: Lewis (7), Logan (7), Shinnie (6), Considine (7), O'Connor (6), McLean (7), Stewart (7), Rooney (6), Wright (7), McKenna (8), May (7).
Subs: Harvie (7), Maynard (6), Ross (7) .
Rangers: Foderingham (7), Tavernier (7), Wilson (7), Bates (8), John (5), McCrorie (7), Holt (6), Jack (5), Pena (7), Windass (8), Miller (7)
Subs: Candeias (7), Cardoso (7), Herrera (6)
Man of the match: David Bates
Jack saw red for a rash lunge on May in the 56th minute but within minutes Rangers had doubled their lead, James Tavernier released Fabio Cardoso down the right and the substitute crossed low for Windass to slip the ball past Lewis.
Ross reduced the arrears almost instantly when his fine free-kick flew past Foderingham into the top corner but the Dons could not break down the 10 men for a second time.
Derek McInnes: "It's really harsh on us. I thought we were the better team for spells in the game. Rangers got a good start from a set-play goal which we were disappointed about, a free header. You've got to credit the header, it's a good header. But he shouldn't be getting a free challenge there to stick it in the net."
On speculation linking him with Rangers: "I'm not happy with the way things have played out truth be told. Everybody seems to be an expert. The focus was on winning the game today and that was clear to everybody who maybe doubted our focus. I'm not speaking about speculation. This has been driven a lot by whatever reason, through the media for four or five weeks. Everybody wants to say their bit. It's not been great the way it's all been handled and I'm not particularly pleased about it."
Man of the match - David Bates
Making his first start of the season in the league, Bates was a dominant presence at the back for the visitors as they withstood a late onslaught. At the centre of a defensive three, Bates showed excellent organisation to help keep his side's shape after the sending off of Jack, with Aberdeen limited to half-chances.
Rangers face Ross County at home in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday at 3pm, while Aberdeen play away at Dundee on Friday at 7.45pm.