The score line may read 3-1 to Rangers but it took a string of contentious decisions including a soft penalty award to secure this win for Rangers. Aberdeen can walk off the pitch with their head held high after a great performance, particularly in the first half, and it must give them great confidence ahead of their cup encounter with Celtic next weekend. It took a string of magnificent saves from McGregor in the first half to keep Rangers in this game, but Lovell did fire the Dons ahead in the 28th minute before Dailly levelled before the interval. The home side improved after the break and went ahead through Adam. The Dons came back into it and the home side looked nervous until Kenny Clark intervened when Novo went down easily inside the penalty area under a challenge from Maybury. Soutar saved the spot kick from Boyd but the Rangers man reacted quickest and netted the loose ball.
Rangers kicked off against an Aberdeen side lining up in a 4-4-2 formation and it was the home side who threatened first. The offside flag relieved the pressure in the third minute and a minute later a late run from Ferguson saw the Rangers captain fire inches wide. Miller and Lovell combined well in the 5th minute and Lovell was caught late by Miller but Kenny Clark waved play on. Soutar then made a comfortable save from Ferguson who was finding plenty of space at this stage. Rangers were awarded a dangerous free kick in the 7th minute when Broadfoot was caught by Foster but the set play was well defended. Boyd fell over inside the box in the 8th minute as Diamond and Soutar failed to communicate but fortunately common sense prevailed and nothing was given.
Aberdeen surged forward a minute later but Miller was unable to finish off a good passing move. Maguire got his first touch in the 10th minute and got a rousing reception of sorts from the home crowd. Zander Diamond was booked in the 12th minute for conceding the softest of free kicks as Boyd once again struggled with his balance. At the other end McGregor was forced into a save from a deflected Maguire shot with Lee Miller lurking for any spill. Aberdeen should have take the lead in the 15rh minute when Lovell was put through one-on-one with McGregor but the keeper managed to turn the ball round the post as it rebounded off his feet. From the resulting corner Diamond headed wide of the target.
Lovell was denied again in the 18th minute when de Visscher broke quickly and the keeper was there to save the home side. Diamond managed to find the target from the second corner but McGregor had a comfortable save. At the other end Rangers won a dangerous free kick on the edge of the box but once again the Dons defence stood firm. Miller and Lovell released Maguire in the 21st minute but the youngster took a heavy first touch and the chance was gone. Rangers won their first corner of the match two minutes later and as the ball came across Soutar missed it and de Visscher was forced to clear off the line.
Charlie Adam then rattled the bar in the 24th minute when he was given far too much space, but fortunately his colleagues were offside as they looked to pounce on the loose ball. Aberdeen were playing well at this stage but were getting few decisions from the officials. Two minutes later de Visscher was scythed to the ground but the referee awarded a free kick to Rangers for hand ball. McGregor once again saved Rangers' skin in the 28th minute when he palmed a fierce Nicholson shot round the post. From the resultant corner Aberdeen took a deserved lead as Lee Miller flicked de Visscher's corner on to Lovell, who made no mistake as he steered the ball into the net.
Aberdeen should have made it 2-0 two minutes later when Lovell, who was having a wonderful game, released de Visscher and as the Dutchman went in on goal Weir deflected his effort wide. Rangers won a corner in the 33rd minute but again Aberdeen defended well. Another corner followed a minute later as Rangers turned up the heat but Soutar made a fine punch to clear the danger.
Rangers then won a couple of corners and the second resulted in Dailly turning the ball into the net in the 38th minute as the Dons marking looked a bit suspect. Charlie Adam, who took the corner ran to the Aberdeen crowd and gesticulated in full view of the referee, but no action was taken. Boyd was winning free kicks for every challenge on him while every nudge and kick at Miller and Lovell was ignored. Then in the space of a minute Rangers were awarded a corner when it was clearly a goal kick and at the other end an obvious corner was awarded as a goal kick to Rangers. The frustrations were clearly beginning to show on the Aberdeen players and the management on the sidelines.
Novo replaced Burke at the interval and Aberdeen won a free kick with in 10 seconds what Lovell was fouled. From the set play the ball fell to de Visscher but he fired weakly wide. Rangers were looking more positive now and they took the lead in the 51st minute when Adam turned the ball into the net as the Dons defence failed to attack a rather poor cross into the area. It looked like the missed chances in the first half would come back to haunt Aberdeen. Aluko replaced Maguire in the 55th minute as Aberdeen looked to get back into the game. They threatened a minute later when de Visscher fed Lee Miller but the strikers cross was poor.
Considine should have levelled in the 57th minute when a Maybury free kick was missed by McGregor and the youngster headed over at the back post. It was all hands to the pump on the hour mark as Rangers threatened to extend their lead but Considine and Diamond did well to deny them. Seconds later Boyd fired over from the edge of the box. A lucky bounce helped Rangers in the 63rd minute when Weir slipped up and the ball bounced away from Lovell who was lurking behind. Aberdeen defended another corner well and broke forward but a Maybury drive was blocked allowing Rangers to counter as Novo hit the woodwork.
A decent delivery from Aluko looked to have hit the hand of Cuellar but it would have been soft and a minute later Adam looked to have controlled the ball with his hand but no decision was given. In the 69th minute Kenny Clark blocked a Severin pass as the midfielder looked to release Aluko. A minute later Aberdeen built another good attack but Lee Miller went too early and was flagged offside. In the 71st minute Aberdeen broke quickly before de Visscher was tugged back by Whittaker who was lucky to avoid a yellow card. Aberdeen were pushing Rangers further back but had failed to create the chances they did in the first half.
Foster and Aluko broke on the right in the 73rd minute but once again Kenny Clark was too close to the play and his block halted that particular attack. Miller was taken down 25yards from goal but de Visscher's free kick was wasted as he curled it too close to McGregor. A Novo hand ball went unpunished two minutes later before Rangers won a rare second half corner. The home side took an eternity to take the set play as they looked happy to hang on to the lead. Aluko made a good run in the 77th minute but his finish was poor and another attack ended when Miller was penalised in an aerial challenge with substitute McCulloch.
It came as little surprise to the band of Aberdeen supporters when Novo went down rather easily inside the Aberdeen penalty area under a challenge from Maybury and Clark pointed to the spot. Kris Boyd stepped up and Soutar made his second spot kick save in as many games but Boyd was first to react and slammed the loose ball into the net for an undeserved two goal lead. A minute later Novo appeared to throw an elbow at Zander Diamond and the Dons defender was livid. In the final minute Soutar made another great save to keep the home side out. A disappointing end to what had been a fine display by this Aberdeen side.