Steven Gerrard reveals big concern as Rangers boss takes responsibility for Aberdeen defeat
Rangers 0 Aberdeen 2
Steven Gerrard looks certain to finish his first season as Rangers boss empty handed as his team crashed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup after a 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen.
With the Light Blues eight points adrift of Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership title race, Gerrard's hopes of lifting a trophy at the end of his rookie campaign rested on steering his side through their quarter-final replay with Derek McInnes' men.
But goals from Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan gave the Reds their third win over Gers in Glasgow this term and another trip to Hampden.
The Dons defended magnificently at times as Scott McKenna and Andy Considine again kept Alfredo Morelos quiet.
So frustrated was the Colombian that he got himself booked for diving for the second game running against the Pittodrie outfit to earn a ban that meant he would have missed the semi-final with Celtic had Rangers progressed.
"It's a huge blow, this was a massive game for the club. We've let the supporters down and I take full responsibility for it," said Gerrard. "We were nowhere near good enough, I thought the better side won. We started the game extremely poorly and we never got better from there.
"We gifted them a goal and everyone knows if you let Aberdeen get in front they're a tough nut to crack.
"The reality was we didn't test their goalie enough over the 90 minutes. We have no complaints about the result, they deserved it and they wanted it more, which is a big concern."
Aberdeen got off to the perfect start in the first tie at Pittodrie with an early goal and repeated the trick three minutes into the rematch.
Glen Kamara tried a risky square ball across his defence to James Tavernier and watched with horror as it went wrong as Northern Ireland international McGinn nicked possession before calmly beating Allan McGregor.
Scott Arfield looked to hit back for Gerrard's team but his shot was blocked by Dons youngster Dean Campbell.
The hosts' desperation to get back on level terms saw them swarm over the Reds.
But while Rangers' work rate was impressive, their quality in the final third was not. Gerrard could not hide his disgust as Daniel Candeias wasted a brilliant opening on the breakaway as the Portuguese overcooked a cross for the unmarked Ryan Kent.
And a look of frustration swept across the Light Blues boss again in the 33rd minute. Gerrard refused to contemplate leaving out Morelos despite his top scorer walking a suspension tightrope.
But the former Liverpool skipper was left to regret that call as Morelos collected his second yellow of the competition for a dive.
Ryan Jack almost fired Gers level eight minutes before the break as a Borna Barisic corner broke his way but his low drive thudded off the base of the post.
It was the 975-strong band of Aberdeen supporters who were cheering in the 62nd minute as McLennan put them two up.
Stevie May did brilliantly to hold up play, before picking the perfect moment to slip his young colleague in behind the Gers defence and McLennan did the rest.
Gerrard had no option but to go all in and immediately threw on Jermain Defoe and Kyle Lafferty to join Morelos in a three-man attack.
But Considine produced a great block to deny Defoe while Joe Lewis kept out a Morelos strike.
Meanwhile, in the other quarter-final replay, Uche Ikpeazu scored his first goal since August as Hearts claimed a comeback victory over Partick Thistle to reach the semis.
The striker created a goal out of nothing to cancel out Scott McDonald's opener and set Hearts on their way to a 2-1 win.
Ikpeazu, who missed more than four months with a foot injury, later missed a penalty but Sean Clare had already scored from the spot to send Hearts to Hampden to face Jambos record goalscorer John Robertson's Inverness side in the last-four.
RANGERS: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Worrall, Barisic, Jack, Candeias (Lafferty 66), Kamara (Davis 80), Arfield (Defoe 66), Kent, Morelos.
Subs not used: Halliday, Katic, Coulibaly, Firth.
Aberdeen: Lewis, Ball, McKenna, Considine, Lowe, Ferguson, Shinnie, McGinn (Devlin 72), Campbell (Gleeson 80), McLennan, May (Wilson 82).
Subs not used: Stewart, Halford, Cerny, Ross.
Man of the match: McGinn
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Kevin Clancy