Aberdeen put in a magnificent performance at Pittodrie tonight to deny Rangers the SPL title. Jean-Claude Darcheville's claim that his side would put six past the Dons looked hollow as Aberdeen swept the Glasgow team aside with two second half goals from Miller and Mackie. As the Dons fans were chanting for "six goals Rangers lost their discipline as Novo was shown a straight red card for a horrific lunge on Stuart Duff. Barry Nicholson received a standing ovation when he was substituted late on as Aberdeen comfortably played out the game to claim fourth spot in the SPL.
After a long delay Rangers got the match under way and Aberdeen won an early free kick that was easily cleared. Rangers broke from the attack, which was allowed to continue despite Cousin controlling the ball with an arm. Aberdeen won the first corner of the match in the 4th minute and Nicholson's cross caused a few problems as both Diamond and Miller won headers but failed to threaten Alexander. Aberdeen threatened again a minute later but Miller's cross was easily cut out by Alexander who then appeared to carry the ball out of the box, but the incident went unpunished. Mackie showed a great turn in the box before he won another corner as Rangers were forced on to the back foot.
Rangers won their first corner in the 8th minute but Langfield confidently clutched the ball from the air. The visitor's won a second corner a minute later with a third quickly following as Aberdeen looked shaky at the back. From this set play Langfield was forced into a fine save from a Cuellar volley. Cuellar then had to look lively at the other end as Duff almost pounced. Miller was clattered by Weir in the 13th minute and Clark failed to award the free kick but the referee was forced to stop play so the striker could receive attention. Seconds later Ferguson was awarded a soft free kick for a challenge by Duff. Aberdeen went close in the 17th minute after good play from Mackie. The striker then fed the ball to Duff and his quick cross was steered over by Maguire.
A minute later Miller pounced on a Whitaker error and should have done better as he tried to set up Mackie but delivered the ball straight to the keeper. At the other end Darcheville broke and fired into the side netting. Duff almost opened the scoring in the 21st minute as Mackie set him up and he drilled a low shot inches wide with Alexander beaten. A quickly taken free kick in the 27th minute produced another Dons corner that saw Diamond fire a shot into the ground allowing Alexander to easily gather. Maguire won another corner two minutes later but it came to nothing except a real comedy moment as Cousin attempted to play the ball forward and sliced it badly out of play.
A good spell of play in the 33rd minute ended with Maguire trying to curl an effort beyond the keeper, but it was easily saved. A minute later Maybury went down in suspicious circumstances as he stood next to Cousin, but he was able to continue after treatment. Foster gave the ball away in a dangerous position but fortunately the attack ended as Ferguson fired well over, much to the joy of the Dons support. Touzani was penalised for a rather forced looking free kick on the edge of the box, but justice was done when Adam fired the ball into the upper tier of the Richard Donald Stand. Mackie broke well in the 44th minute but his pass was too heavy as he tried to find Nicholson on the back post.
Aberdeen created the first chance of the second half in when a through ball came off the back of Darren Mackie and fell to Lee Miller who fired in a fierce shot that was well blocked by Alexander. Maybury made a clean tackle on Adam in the 51st minute and looked to the heavens as Kenny Clark awarded a free kick. This gave the visitor's a boost after a lethargic start to the second half and they enjoyed a short period of pressure. Three minutes later Langfield made an easy save as Ferguson out fought Zander Diamond. At the other end Maguire did well on the wing but his cross was too close to the keeper.
Rangers then won a corner just short of the hour mark after a fortuitous deflection. A period of pressure then ended when Ferguson headed over seconds after Duff had made an important challenge deep inside his own box. Aberdeen should have taken the lead in the 62nd minute when a Nicholson free kick was headed down by Diamond but Duff fired wide from close range. Rangers then replaced Cousin and Darcheville with Novo and Boyd, but it was Aberdeen who took the lead a minute later. A high ball in from Nicholson was met magnificently by Lee Miller who headed into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Rangers were rattled by this but won a corner in the 68th minute as they looked to get back into the game. Cuellar was all over Duff like a rash, but wasn't penalised and Diamond was forced into a spectacular clearance. Aberdeen then looked to break with Nicholson but Kenny Clark pulled the game back when there was a clear advantage. Jamie Smith replaced Maguire in the 70th minute and was given a standing ovation by the red army. Two minutes later a long range effort from Adam was woeful then at the other end Smith won a free kick on the edge of the box, but the cross was cleared by Weir.
As Aberdeen stormed forward news of a Celtic goal filtered through as Rangers title hopes faded. The final nail was hammered into the Gers coffin when Darren Mackie took advantage of turmoil at the back to net a second goal. The Aberdeen crowd then taunted Darcheville's by chanting, "We want six" in reference to the strikers boast earlier in the week. Rangers then lost their discipline as Nacho Novo went in dangerously late on Duff and was shown a straight red and kicked off a bit of a rammy. After the dust settled Rangers were somehow awarded a free kick and Boyd fired wide of the target. Smith was then shown a soft yellow card for a nothing challenge. Nicholson received a standing ovation when he was substituted late on and Aberdeen comfortably secured fourth spot.
Watch the goals with the RedTV commentary