Rangers 3-0 Aberdeen: James Tavernier scores twice as hosts cruise to victory
By Andrew Dickson
Last Updated: 30/11/17 1:02pm
Rangers moved up to third in the Scottish Premiership as they recorded a comprehensive 3-0 win over second-top Aberdeen at Ibrox.
James Tavernier scored twice, one a penalty, while Carlos Pena also got on the scoresheet in a dominant performance from the hosts.
The result will alleviate at least a little pressure on the Rangers board ahead of Thursday's AGM, where fans are expected to quiz them on the club's so-far fruitless five-week search for a new boss.
It also gives caretaker manager Graeme Murty and his team a timely boost, with the outcome taking them to within seven points of leaders Celtic after they drew 1-1 with Motherwell.
Rangers lost to Aberdeen at Ibrox for the first time in over 25 years when they last met there and they went into this game looking to avoid three successive league losses for the first time since 2000.
Having struggled in their most recent outings, it therefore came as a surprise that they started well and took an early lead.
Ryan Jack's cross was deflected and as it looped down, Greg Tansey flattened Jason Holt, with referee Andrew Dallas awarding a penalty.
Tavernier took it, confidently sending Joe Lewis the wrong way as he placed a lot shot to his right - and Rangers quickly set about trying to build on their lead.
Pena went close with a 25-yard drive which Lewis had to react sharply to in order to help it over while Josh Windass had the ball in the net from Ross McCrorie's pass but was flagged offside.
A second did come, however, when Holt crossed low to find Pena and he placed his fifth of the season into the far corner to put the hosts in command.
Aberdeen threw on Gary Mackay-Steven in response and he felt he should have had an instant penalty but his claims after a feint tug from Tavernier were dismissed.
The away side's attempts at getting back into the game after the break were initially just as lacklustre as they had been beforehand, with home keeper Wes Foderingham rarely troubled.
Aberdeen finally came into the game, enjoying their best period around the midway point of the second half, but by then they had too much to do.
Indeed, Rangers killed the contest with 20 minutes left as Tavernier slid to tackle and keep a passing move going before poking in Windass' pacey cross, albeit while on the verge of offside.
Aberdeen's night got worse in the closing stages as Ryan Christie was sent off for a reckless challenge on McCrorie.
That means he misses their next game, also against Rangers, with the two meeting again on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.