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Gers display their mettle to down the Dons again

Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2

Pleading innocence: Ryan Jack appeals to referee Willie Collum after his dismissal
Pleading innocence: Ryan Jack appeals to referee Willie Collum after his dismissal

By Andy Newport

Ten-man Rangers clung on for a 2-1 victory over Aberdeen after Ryan Jack's Pittodrie return ended in red-card controversy.

Ibrox caretaker boss Graeme Murty had backed the former Dons skipper to keep his cool as he ran out at his old stomping ground for the first time with his new club.

But Jack lasted just 56 minutes before collecting his fourth red card in just 19 appearances since his Ibrox switch - although two were later rescinded - after crunching into Reds frontman Stevie May.

Goals from Danny Wilson and Josh Windass were enough to seal Gers' second win over Derek McInnes' team - who hit back with a stunning free-kick from teenager Frank Ross - this week as they overtook the Dons to move into second spot.

The defeat could yet end up being a sorry swansong for McInnes, with Rangers chairman Dave King understood to be readying himself to offer the current Ibrox vacancy to the former Light Blues midfielder.

Murty, who is expected to revert to his under-20s duties this week as Gers step up their pursuit of McInnes, hailed his players for responding to Jack's dismissal.

He said: "I'm not going to shout about the referee. He made a decision, we had to deal with the consequences. I'd rather talk about the character the team showed.

"They refocused and dug in. We were lucky at times but I thought anything less than win would have been harsh.

"I feel for Ryan. I know he's gutted. We'll have a look at it again and we'll decide what to do as a club but I thought he handled the occasion up to that point remarkably well. He showed a degree of composure I'm not sure I'd have been capable of in his shoes."

The visitors drew first blood with Wilson's opener 14 minutes in.

Graeme Shinnie's barge on Jason Holt gave Declan John the chance to swing in free-kick from wide. The Welshman's delivery was packed with menace but the Dons were culpable as they allowed Wilson to wander free before looping a fantastic header into the top corner.

Aberdeen came within inches of equalising on the stroke of half-time when Andrew Considine struck the crossbar.

The big talking point came after 56 minutes as Jack's follow through after playing a pass saw him plant his studs into May's ankle. A look of disbelief quickly spread across the midfielder's face as referee Willie Collum immediately reached for his red.

But the dismissal did not hold the Light Blues back and they doubled their lead after 63 minutes courtesy of Windass.

The deficit was trimmed back just two minutes later as young substitute Ross whipped a perfect free-kick past Wes Foderingham. - but no equaliser would follow as Rangers dug deep for victory.

Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine (Harvie, 81 mins) O'Connor, McLean, Stewart, Rooney, Wright (Ross, 51 mins) McKenna, May (Maynard, 61 mins). Unused subs: Rogers, Reynolds, Arnason, Ball.

Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Bates, Wilson (Cardoso, 46 mins), John, McCrorie, Jack, Holt, Pena (Candeias, 57 mins) Windass (Herrera, 90 mins), Miller. Unused subs: Alnwick, Hodson, Morelos, Barjonas.

Referee: Willie Collum

Man of the match: Josh Windass

Match rating: 7/10

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