Jimmy also stuck with the same bench so there is no place for the fit again Derek Young who scored the last time the teams met at Pittodrie earlier in the season. (1-1 draw)
Rangers surprisingly brought in Lee McCulloch, presumably as a way of trying to thwart Lee Miller. Kris Boyd was left on the bench as the Gers played with one up front.
It is a cold day in the Granite City but the sun is out and it is a perfect day for football.
Unlike last Sunday the Dons started off strongly taking the game to Rangers. The confidence gained from the win over the championswas clear to see. On 8 minutes after some good possession play McCulloch fouled Aluko - David Weir had given away the ball in a dangerous area. The free kick was well within Charlie Mulgrew's range and he curled the ball over the wall and the ball was heading into the top corner but McGregor pulled off a great save.
From the resulting corner Zander headed the ball back across the face of goal. McDonald was in space on the six yard line but acrobatic effort did not quite come off! (I am being kind)
Rangers started coming more into the game and on 16 minutes had a good chance. Steven Davis did well down the right. He set up Ferguson who was free and able to get a shot on goal but the ball hit Diamond and went behind for a corner. Aberdeen just about managed to keep the corners out. Langfield finally grasped the ball and his quick kick out left Sone one on one but he did not get the break of the ball.
19 minutes and again a Rangers player found space on the edge of the box. Young Fleck was in a good position but he blasted over. Stuart Duff then won the ball back in a dangerous area but his cross drifted harmlessly wide. Good play again from Fleck set up Rangers down the left but Kenny Miller's cross was poor when he had time and space to do a lot better. The game at this point was open and end to end.
On minutes 22 Mulgrew put in a long throw. It was flicked on and the ball almost broke to Mackie inside the box. There was a good Aberdeen passing move on 27 minutes, Duff played the ball back to Mackie who crossed well for McDonald but he could not repeat his heroics of the last week and headed over. It was a decent chance.
On the half hour mark Rangers could have taken the lead. McCulloch had a shot from distance which was only parried by Langfield. The ball fell to Kenny Miller who had an open goal but he somehow missed the ball from about six yards out. To save his blushes the flag was up for offside. Diamond and Ferguson then clashed after the whistle had gone and referee Calum Murray moved quickly to defuse the situation. It was the only real flash point during the game.
Rangers at this point were on top. On 33 minutes Broadfoot delivered a great cross after good build up play but Miller was always stretching and he put his header over. Two minutes later, from a free kick the ball broke to Bougherra in the box and his shot was deflected just wide for a corner. It's maybe just as well the ball did not fall to a striker, although after Miller's other effort who knows?
On 37 minutes a free kick to Aberdeen was not cleared. Severin retrieved it at the back post and tried to play it back across. The ball fell to Aluko on the edge of the box but he took too long. Rangers broke forward and for a second it was four against three but Fleck showed a bit of inexperienced and held onto the ball too long allowing Kerr and Foster the chance to clear the danger.
On 40 minutes Mendes hit a shot. This time Langfield held on. A minute later Davis fouled Miller. Mulgrew had another good chance from a free-kick situation but it was a simple save for McGregor this time.
In the final action Rangers had a corner but Bougherra headed over.
Rangers started the second half on top. Mendez was beginning to pull the strings in the middle of the park. Broadfoot got in behind - down the right - and put in a low cross which was well saved by Langfield. It was a brave save and he got a boot in the head from Kenny Miller. It was the first thing Miller had hit all day. To be fair the collision was accidental. However Langers was unable to recover and had to be substituted. A real blow for the Dons. Bossu come on to make his first SPL start.
The game now started to get a bit heated with tough challenges flying in. On the hour mark Aberdeen were denied a stonewall penalty. The big striker had his shirt tugged back by Weir in the box. The incident was missed by ref Murray although Miller did not complain too much about the decision.
Rangers raced down the other end and Bossu blocked well from Miller. It was Miller's last action of the game as was substituted by Boyd (62 mins) a minute later the Dons made their second substitute with Vidal coming on to make his debut replacing Stuart Duff.
The game was really getting scrappy at this stage which both teams struggling to get going.
On 68 minutes a fine ball from Sone was just over the head of McDonald who had made another good forward run but he was rightly booked for handling the ball. Silly booking.Then there was another good move from the Dons. Mackie headed back to Mulgrew who hit a shot but he never got hold of it. 70 minutes, major let off for the Dons. Bougherra found Fergsuon. He crossed the ball across the face of goal and thankfully Boyd could not get a touch on it.
76 minutes Fleck off, Novo on. Ferguson then had a half chance on the edge of the box but pulled his effort just wide. Rangers looked the more dangerous at this stage. Mulgrew then did really well at the back post defending a dangerous ball after Bossu had stayed on his line.
Lee Miller, who was very closely marshalled all afternoon, had a chance after the ball was crossed from the right by McDonald but Bougherra defended the situation well.
On 80 minutes another major let off for the Dons. Novo got the better for Foster at the back post, he got his shot away, through the keepers legs but somehow the ball hit the post and Kerr was able to bundle the ball behind.Then Boyd had another good chance but his header hit Severin. It was amazing how many times the ball hit Severin and Diamond in the box - superb defending from both of them.
At this stage Aberdeen would have been happy to hear the final whistle but they had the final chance. A Mulgrew free kick was met by the head of Mackie but his effort went inches wide. Shortly after the referee brought a scrappy game to a close. It was one of the quietest Aberdeen Rangers games played for a long time with both teams probably happy with a point. Rangers 4-5-1 formation prevented the likes of Kerr and McDonald having as much influence over the game as they have in recent weeks. Diamond and Severin were both excellent with Seve deservedly the sponsors man of the match.
Final note - Have Aberdeen ever won a game with a 12.30pm kick off?!