03 Dec Rangers 2 – 1 Aberdeen
Lee Hodson scored his first goal for Rangers as a much-changed home team beat Aberdeen 2-1 at Ibrox.
The right-back, in for the dropped James Tavernier, finished emphatically with 20 minutes left to hand Rangers a first victory over their top-four rivals in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
After a tight first half, Aberdeen forward Jayden Stockley missed a glorious chance and Kenny Miller showed him the way to goal in the 52nd minute as he converted Joe Garner’s cross.
Rangers showed the passion that was missing during their midweek defeat by Hearts as they ended a run of three defeats against last season’s top three teams in front of a noisy 50,003 crowd.
A bad-tempered game boiled over in added time when Rangers defender Clint Hill and Aberdeen captain Ryan Jack were sent off and Andrew Considine headed the Dons’ goal in the dying seconds.
Mark Warburton made five changes with Tavernier a notable omission from the starting line-up after Robbie Muirhead got in behind him to net both goals at Tynecastle.
Danny Wilson, Matt Crooks, Harry Forrester and Joe Dodoo also made way as Hill returned from injury and Hodson, Barrie McKay, Michael O’Halloran and Garner came in.
Rangers employed their normal 4-3-3 formation with Miller dropping into midfield while Aberdeen moved to a 3-5-2 and brought in Mark Reynolds for Anthony O’Connor following their disappointing 3-0 Betfred Cup final defeat by Celtic.
The visitors threatened early as James Maddison’s free-kick bounced just wide and they soon got a weak effort on target through Jonny Hayes, who lined up alongside striker Stockley. Rangers got on top and Garner’s deflected shot trundled just wide.
But there were only two clear chances in the first half, one for each team. Wes Foderingham clawed the ball away after Stockley got a foot to Graeme Shinnie’s low cross and Lee Wallace dragged a shot wide after McKay’s pass suddenly opened up the Dons defence.
There was plenty of effort in the subsequent 20 minutes of the half but nobody showed the ability to carve another opportunity.
Hill got away with a risky challenge on Shinnie inside his own box before Stockley missed a sitter. Hayes got round his man on the left and delivered a cross right on the head of the striker six yards out in the centre of the goal but he somehow sent a free header wide.
Aberdeen were made to pay four minutes later when they failed to cut out Garner’s speculative right-wing cross. It eventually found its way to Miller at the back post and the former Scotland striker finished first time.
Maddison failed to catch hold of two shots from outside the box and Rangers doubled their lead on the 70-minute mark.
McKay had the composure and vision to find Hodson inside the box amid a spell of pressure and the Northern Ireland international lashed a shot into the roof of the net.
Aberdeen pressed hard but Rangers came close to a third goal when Joe Lewis saved from Forrester.
Hill was sent off in added time after being booked twice for fouls on Maddison and Jack joined him down the tunnel after a lengthy spell of mass pushing as Maddison lined up a free-kick.
Considine headed home when the set-piece finally came in but there was barely time for Rangers to restart.