At the end of the day it was another defeat, but this performance will have given the manager and the players plenty of encouragement. Little was created by either side in the opening stages, but in the 21st minute Rangers took the lead through a backward header from Miller. A second followed ten minutes later when Aberdeen failed to clear their lines and Weiss netted. Rangers were awarded a penalty kick in the 42nd minute, but Langfield made a terrific save to turn the ball round the post. That save appeared to galvanise the Dons and they produced a solid second half performance without creating too much up front.
Rangers kicked off inside the Ibrox cauldron and after a quiet opening five minutes the home crowd were baying for blood when Maguire caught McCulloch and the giant midfielder went down as if he had been targeted by a marksman in the stands. In terms of goal mouth action there was very little to report in the opening stages. Aberdeen mounted their first attack in the 9th minute, but Vernon went too early and was flagged offside. A minute later Jack tripped Broadfoot in a dangerous area.
Weiss swung the ball in and as Aberdeen struggled to clear the ball Langfield pulled off a great save to keep the scores level. At the other end Maguire was scythed down by Naismith as he headed for goal earning the Rangers player the first caution of the match. From the subsequent free kick Aluko whipped the ball into the area, but Bougherra cleared. In the 13th minute Aberdeen went close when Aluko threaded a pass through to Maguire, but the striker failed to collect. Two minutes later McArdle defended well before Aluko slipped up and Rangers hit the side netting.
Aberdeen then forced the first corner in the 17th minute following good build up play. Hartley failed to deliver a good ball and it was half cleared and fell to Jack who had a pot at goal, but failed to get behind the effort. At the other end McCulloch fired over and was awarded a corner even though it was difficult to see the deflection. From the corner Miller collected a Bougherra flick and somehow fired wide when it looked easier to score. Rangers were starting to take control now and went ahead in the 21st minute.
Miller got on the end of a cross from Weiss and headed the ball beyond Langfield. A minute later there was controversy as Weiss went down when it appeared that Maguire had hardly touched him. With the home crowd baying for a red card Maguire was shown yellow. Two minutes later Fleck did commit a poor challenge, but he escaped a caution as the game started to boil up. In the 29th minute Miller caught McArdle and the goal scorer was also lucky to escape a caution.
With 32 minutes on the clock Rangers made it 2-0 when Weiss eventually scored after several unsuccesful attempts by the Aberdeen defence to clear. Aberdeen tried to hit back quickly, but a McArdle cross failed to find anyone in the centre. Aberdeen then enjoyed a period of possession, but failed to test McGregor. Folly won a free kick in the 38th minute when Bougherra came steaming in. Hartley swung the ball into the danger area and McArdle won the ball in the air, but headed wide. At the other end Langfield made a save from Weiss.
The Dons afternoon appeared to be going downhill in the 41st minute when Rangers were awarded a penalty. Whittaker had worked his way into the box and was brought down by Diamond as he looked to shoot. Miller stepped up to take the kick, but Langfield made a terrific save as he turned the ball round his post. The subsequent corner was cleared by the Dons defence for a short reprieve. A late McCulloch effort went comfortably wide before the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.
Aberdeen created the first chance of the second half when Folly did well to keep the ball in play, but a foul by Maguire on Bougherra ended the threat. The Ranger man managed to earn a booking for some crass retaliation much to the wrath of the home crowd. Two minutes later Aberdeen won a corner when Jack and Maguire combined well. Aluko swung a dangerous ball in and it just missed the on rushing Diamond. It was a very positive start from the Dons.
At the other end Miller collected a Fleck pass, but the striker fired well wide. Aluko was totally taken out of the game by McCulloch and the Gers man was lucky to escape with just a yellow card. From the free kick Bougherra just beat Diamond to the ball as Aberdeen continued to look for the goal that would take them back into the game. On the hour mark McArdle conceded a free kick in a dangerous position and Langfield made a fine save from a Weiss effort. At the other end a head knock for Weir ended a Dons attack and the visitor's tamely rolled the ball back to McGregor at the bounce up.
Ifil made a goal saving challenge in the 62nd minute and a minute later Aluko and Maguire set up McArdle who wasn't that far away with his finish. Four minutes later Maguire was penalised and the home fans were once again screaming for red. It would have been soft, but the youngster would have to be careful now. The resultant free kick was woeful, but a minute later Langfield made another great save after Miller turned Ifil inside out.
In the 70th minute Derek Young replaced Maguire as a precaution and the match had lost some of its early passion. A Dons goal at this stage could certainly make the match interesting. However it was Rangers who nearly scored when Naismith fired inches wide. Aberdeen then won a free kick that was played in by Hartley. The ball was half cleared before the Dons won another free kick closer to goal, but Aluko got it all wrong as he blazed his effort well over the bar.
Diamond earned a harsh yellow card in the 76th minute, which appeared to be flashed because of the crowd reaction. The defender certainly appeared to win the ball and from the free kick Jack was forced to concede a corner. Substitute Wylde fired over from the set play and Aberdeen needed to get the ball up the other end. They did this and Weir was forced to scramble a McArdle cross clear. In the 80th minute McGhee made a positive move as Magennis replaced Folly.
Magennis ran through Bougherra to get his first touch of the ball, but the referee took exception to this and awarded the home side a free kick. Rangers went close to adding a third in the 83rd minute when Aberdeen struggled to clear their lines, but the home side failed to capitalise. At the other end Young set up Aluko who fired wide, but the play was pulled back for a mystery free kick to the home side. With three minutes remaining Rangers won a corner, but Langfield did well to punch clear and start a Dons attack.
Unfortunately another soft free kick ended the pressure from the Dons. McArdle looked to have been beaten by Wylde in the 90th minute, but he did really well to get back and clear the ball. Ifil also made another solid challenge before Langfield made another fine save from Fleck. That was the last chance of the match and although the Dons suffered another defeat, there were plenty of positives to take from this performance.