Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna drills a volley high into Rangers’ netRangers relinquished top spot after Scott McKenna’s goal earned Aberdeen a victory on a night when both sides were reduced to 10 men.
McKenna struck after seven minutes, but Aberdeen were on the defensive after Sam Cosgrove received a second booking.
Rangers laboured and Alfredo Morelos saw red after the break when a stray arm on Graeme Shinnie led to a second yellow card.
Rangers’ defeat saw Kilmarnock replace them at the top of the Premiership.
Aberdeen have avoided defeat against Rangers in four consecutive meetings, and this win was built on resolve and perseverance.
McKenna’s early strike established a foundation to build on, and the visitors were well organised enough to thwart Rangers’ attacking intent.
Morelos sent a header wide in the first half and another over the bar, while Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis saved from Glenn Middleton, but once Morelos received his third red card of the season – and his second against Aberdeen – the home side lacked a cutting edge.
McKenna marshals Dons
McKenna’s first intervention in the game was to show sharp reflexes and composure to steer the ball high into the net after Niall McGinn’s free-kick was headed down by Cosgrove.
The defender then led his side to only their second win at Ibrox in 27 years with a display of calm authority at the back. He was unflustered, even when a late Kyle Lafferty challenge left him grounded and needing treatment deep into the second half.
Rangers will rue the indiscipline of Morelos, but also a lack of purpose to their play that meant they failed to impose themselves on Aberdeen even after Cosgrove saw red in the first-half following a second yellow card for catching Connor Goldson late.
Aberdeen were dogged, with McKenna at the heart of their rearguard action. It wasn’t until the 24th minute that Rangers came close to troubling Lewis, as Morelos nipped in at the front post and sent a header into the side netting
Lewis had to look lively to tip away Middleton’s drilled effort, but otherwise Aberdeen were generally unflustered. Even when Lafferty came on at half-time, closely followed by Eros Grezda, Aberdeen’s defence stood strong.
Lewis produced a double save to deny Lafferty and Ryan Jack, then Morelos blasted over before being sent off three minutes later for landing an arm on Shinnie.
With the game drifting to a close, and Rangers becoming desperate, McKenna provided a final intervention, his last-ditch tackle preventing Lafferty from equalising.
Aberdeen’s victory moved them into the top six, but also ended Rangers’ spell at the top of the Premiership after just three days.