Graeme Shinnie missed out after the poor tackle on him last week late on at Kilmarnock and he was replaced by Lewis Ferguson, who was available after suspension. The only other change from last week saw James Wilson start in place of Michael Devlin.
On paper it looked an attacking line up.
It was the seventh time the sides had met this season and the Dons went into the game looking for an unprecedented fourth win in Glasgow. The Dons were forced to change into their away kit with Allan McGregor choosing to wear the orange goalkeeper kit.
In the early stages, Rangers had plenty of the ball but on four minutes, Aberdeen had a promising break after Cosgrove had found McLennan in space, but the ball stuck in the grass and suddenly Kent was attacking the Dons down the right. Thankfully, his cross was poor but he got a second chance after a hurried clearance from Wilson. His second cross was not much better and was blocked by the first man.
After seven minutes, Kent outpaced Wilson and this time his cross was better. McKenna got just enough on it to put off Arfield, though it was only the slightest of touches.
Ten minutes in, there was concern for the Dons as McLennan went to ground. With McGinn and Mackay-Steven missing, and Stewart only fit enough for a place on the bench, the Dons could not afford to lose another creative player.
On 12 minutes, Cosgrove won a free-kick. Wilson played in a looping ball which was won by Cosgrove in the air but his header into the ground went past the post. Two minutes later, McLennan went down again and it was clear he could not continue. He was replaced by Michael Devlin on 15 minutes.
Two minutes later, a long throw by Considine into the area caused a few problems but the ball bounced fortuitously off Tavernier and into the arms of Allan McGregor. Then some nice play down the right by Wilson saw some more pressure from the visitors. The passage of play came to an end when Wilson?s cross to the far post was just too far away from Cosgrove, frustrating as it was a dangerous ball in.
With 20 minutes gone, Aberdeen had done OK despite the loss of McLennan.
After 22 minutes, a Rangers ball over the top looked for the run of Defoe. It was always going to be Joe Lewis? ball but the Rangers striker caught the keeper with his arm. It was a needless challenge and thankfully Joe was able to continue after some treatment.
On 26 minutes, Kent had a low shot from the edge of the area which just went past the left post. A minute later, Dom Ball was forced to concede the first corner of the afternoon. Rangers took it short and after a patient build up, Defoe should have scored but Lewis made a wonderful save. Davis produced a dummy on the edge of the area which freed Defoe, Aberdeen appealed for offside as their keeper produced a stunning stop.
Half an hour in, Michael Devlin was forced into two excellent clearances in quick succession, then on 32 minutes, Defoe was booked for a deliberate hand ball.
A minute later, Gleeson played the ball wide to Wilson. The striker cut in on his left foot but his shot was deflected into the arms of McGregor. James had done well to work the opening but he didn?t catch the ball as well as he would have liked. The keeper then tried to get Max Lowe into trouble by colliding with him.
On 35 minutes, Ferguson had a shot from the halfway line which, had it been on target, might have troubled McGregor who was well off his line.
Three minutes later, Defoe had another great chance but took an extra touch which allowed the defence time to get back and do just enough to force the striker to hurry his shot wide. On 40 minutes, with Wilson off the park getting treatment, Kent found Goldson and his header went just over.
Joe Lewis was once again the Aberdeen hero as he saved brilliantly from Tavernier who had been put through by Defoe. Then the keeper was called into action seconds later to keep out a shot from Davis. Two really good blocks.
On 43 minutes, Considine was yellow carded for a late tackle on Tavernier. A minute later Cosgrove won Aberdeen their first corner of the afternoon. Stevie May took it by referee Robertson gave a foul against Devlin.
Half time Rangers 0 Aberdeen 0
Rangers won a corner early in the second half. The ball was not cleared and Katic threw himself to the ground after the slightest of touches from Ferguson. Referee Don Robertson looked at his linesman and pointed to the spot. On first sight, it looked a theatrical dive from the Rangers player.
Tavernier took it and put the keeper the wrong way. Rangers had scored their first goal of the season against the Dons in Glasgow, but they had been given a huge helping hand from the officials.
On 55 minutes, Sam Cosgrove worked a shooting chance but his effort was blocked. Unfortunately, the striker did not see Max Lowe who was in space. On 57 minutes, Defoe missed another good chance when he reacted to the ball bouncing off Lewis. Three minutes later, Stephen Gleeson was replaced by Dean Campbell.
On 63 minutes, Tavernier had the ball in the net after good play by Defoe but the offside flag had rightly gone up. The Dons were now doing better but could not work anything in the final third.
Davis and Arfield both had good chances but again, Lewis did just enough to keep both of them out. The keeper had spilled the initial ball through but recovered the situation wonderfully well. On 70 minutes, poor play by Rangers at the back gave Cosgrove the ball in a good position but he had no support round him.
Two minutes later, Wilson burst forward and played it wide to Lowe who was tripped on the edge of the area after contact from Jack, but nothing was awarded. With fifteen minutes to go Sam Cosgrove was replaced by Greg Stewart.
On 77 minutes, Defoe might have done better with a two on two but McKenna did well to cut out the pass. From the corner, Katic went to ground claiming he had been caught by Considine in the face. The referee bought it and awarded the spot kick and worse was to follow as Considine was given a second yellow card. It was incredibly harsh decision.
Lewis guessed the right way, but Tavernier managed to find the corner but the Dons had been really hard done by.
After that, it was damage limitation. The game had gone but they did not need the goal difference to suffer too badly in the race for Europe. In the 89th minute McKenna was booked for a foul on sub McCrorie and the game petered out.
The Dons remain three points clear of Kilmarnock in third place with the race for Europe entering it?s final weeks.
Full time: Rangers 2-0 Aberdeen