Rangers made a winning start in their bid to stop Celtic winning a record 10th successive Scottish Premiership title with a 1-0 victory at Aberdeen.
After almost five months since last season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan Kent's 21st-minute opener set Steven Gerrard's side on their way to an opening-day victory.
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At an empty Pittodrie, Rangers had to survive a goalmouth scramble in the second half but they were not really tested by Aberdeen, who had Andrew Considine sent off late on for a studs-up challenge on Scott Arfield.
Rangers held on for a hard-fought three points and can now sit back and watch on as the rest of the Scottish Premiership clubs get their campaigns underway, including Celtic, who face Hamilton on Sunday, live on Sky Sports (kick off 4.30pm).
How Rangers got up and running...
After 142 days in lockdown, the Ibrox side got off to just the start they were looking for on their return to competitive action for the first time since March's Europa League defeat by Bayer Leverkusen.
For all their possession, however, it took 21 minutes for Rangers to create the game's first chance - but Kent made no mistake in front of goal.
Aberdeen: Lewis (6), Hernandez (6), Taylor (8), McKenna (7), Considine (5), Ojo (6), Ferguson (6), Bryson (5), Hayes (6), Kennedy (5), Anderson (5).
Subs: Edmondson (6), McGinn (6), Hedges (6), Campbell (n/a).
Rangers: McGregor (7), Tavernier (7), Goldson (7), Balogun (8), Barisic (7), Kamara (6), Jack (7), Aribo (7), Hagi (6), Kent (8), Morelos (6).
Subs: Arfield (n/a).
Man of the match: Ryan Kent
Alfredo Morelos, who has been linked with a move to Lille, had time to turn and play the ball through for Kent, who beat the offside trap before coolly finishing past Joe Lewis.
Lewis pulled off another routine save from a Ianis Hagi strike before half-time, but Gerrard would have been quietly content with his side's first 45 minutes back in action.
The second half was not quite as comfortable, however.
There were worried looks on the Rangers bench when Leon Balogun's face smashed into a post as he tangled with Scott McKenna after a goal mouth scramble which could have seen Aberdeen equalise.
Hagi's deflected drive then flew just wide before he slid in Morelos, but the striker was denied by a crucial block from Ash Taylor.
- Bruce Anderson got the nod to lead the line for Aberdeen ahead of new Leeds loanee Ryan Edmondson, with Sam Cosgrove and Curtis Main injured.
- Steven Gerrard handed Alfredo Morelos a start, despite heavy speculation about a potential move to Lille. But George Edmundson was dropped to the bench as Leon Balogun came in for his Rangers debut.
Aberdeen's hopes of piling the pressure on in the final stages were ended when Considine flew in on Arfield with his studs showing, earning a straight red from referee Bobby Madden.
Rangers were inches away from making it two in stoppage time when Joe Aribo's shot was expertly blocked on line by Taylor, and it didn't prove to be costly as Gerrard's men held on for a winning start.
What the managers said
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes on Kent's match-winning goal: "People will look at my centre-backs but I don't blame them at all. The press has to come further up the pitch, when James Tavernier gets the ball he must be shown down the line. We allowed that pass to come inside and as soon as that happens you are susceptible to what happened.
"If we press right, our centre-backs are expecting the ball down the channel and we would have dealt with that and not lost that goal."
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard: "I'm really pleased. It's a good team performance. Of course, we could have killed the game off and got that second goal but overall I thought we came here really organised. I thought first half we played some outstanding football and at times in the second half we had to grind. Aberdeen are never going to make it comfortable for you.
"But I'm pleased we showed signs today that we're capable of staying in there and getting over the line, which is the most important thing."
Man of the match - Ryan Kent
Sky Sports' Ally McCoist on Ryan Kent...
"He's got to contribute more in terms of goal scoring return. He did that today - it was an accomplished finish. He finished it like a goal scorer who should be scoring more goals.
"He certainly should be in double figures. I think Kent will be looking to 15 goals a season. With the way Rangers are playing, he's coming in off the side.
"We gave him some stick for coming deep and I definitely think he should have a higher goal return but that said, he got the winner today and it was a good, good finish."
Rangers have a European assignment in midweek when they face Bayer Leverkusen at the Bay Arena in the second leg of their Europa League round-of-16 tie. The Bundesliga side lead 3-1 from the first leg at Ibrox, one of the final matches before lockdown.
Gerrard's side are back in Scottish Premiership action on Sunday August 9 when they face St Mirren at Ibrox.
Aberdeen face a trip to St Johnstone next Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football from 12pm; kick off 12.30pm.