Aberdeen slumped to a third straight defeat to Rangers as they were leapfrogged in second place by the Ibrox club on goal-difference.
In a bad night for the Dons keeper Joe Lewis was also stretchered off injured in the second half of the 2-0 loss in Glasgow.
This fixture offered the chance at redemption for the Dons after suffering back to back defeats to ‘Gers over four days earlier this season.
However they failed to take it and produced a flat performance in Govan.
Rangers were the better side in those two earlier games and it was the same again this time.
Aberdeen made one change to the side that defeated St Mirren 4-1 in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.
Centre-back Scott McKenna returned having been suspended for the cup tie with Mark Reynolds dropping to the bench.
Rangers created the opening opportunity in the fourth minute when Josh Windass unleashed a low right footed drive from that edge of the penalty area that flashed just wide.
In the 12th minute Windass again threatened when his 15 yard shot was deflected onto the inside of the far post but fortunately for Aberdeen the ball fell to keeper Joe Lewis who gathered.
The home side should have went ahead in the 21st minute when Alfredo Morelos had a free header at the back post with the Reds defence breached.
He met a cross from the right but headed over with the goal beckoning.
It was a let off for the Dons.
A surging run from Kenny McLean had Rangers on the back foot near the half hour mark.
McLean , who recently signed a deal at Norwich until 2021, forced his way from deep in midfield to the edge of the penalty area where he was dispossessed.
The loose ball fell to Gary Mackay-Steven who drilled in a low 15 yard shot that was blocked by keeper Wes Foderingham.
Rangers went ahead in the 32nd minute when MORELOS raced onto a cross at the back post whipped in by James Tavernier from the right flank.
He made no mistake, heading in from eight yards.
The warning sign had been there from the almost identical chance Morelos missed earlier – but the Dons did not heed it.
Aberdeen tried to hit back quickly with McLean’s shot saved by Foderingham moments later.
Keeper Lewis was called into action early in the second half when he got down to block a low right footed shot from Morelos.
Rangers should have doubled their advantage in the 58th minute when Lewis stretched to tip a cross clear.
It fell short to Morelos who snatched at the chance and blasted wide of the open goal from six yards.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes took on Niall McGinn near the hour mark in a bid to inject some urgency and creativity.
The Northern Ireland cap, who returned to Pittodrie this month on a deal until 2021, replaced Greg Stewart.
Within minutes of his introduction McGinn attempted a half volley from 25 yards that flew wide.
Yet again Morelos had an opportunity in front of goal but he sliced it wide in the 64th minute.
In the 67th minute the over-worked Lewis again came to the rescue when he saved a looping shot from Windass.
A bad night got even worse for the Dons in the 76th minute when keeper Lewis, who has played every competitive minute since signing in summer 2016, was stretchered off following a challenge with the onrushing Windass.- which the referee awarded a penalty for.
The game was held up for nearly five minutes as Lewis was stretchered off.
Replacement Danny Rogers failed to stop the penalty which was slammed home by James TAVERNIER.
Aberdeen were denied soon after when Rooney’s close range shot was blocked by Foderingham. McKenna pounced on the loose ball but his shot was deflected wide..
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, McKenna, O’ Connor, Considine, McLean, Stewart, Rooney, Christie, Mackay-Steven.
Subs:: McGinn (for Stewart 59), Ball (for Mackay-Steven 75), Rogers (for Lewis 80)
Subs not used: Reynolds, Arnason, Wright, Maynard.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, John, Windass, Morelos, Candeias, Holt, Bates, Goss, Murphy, Martin.
Subs: Cummings (for Morelos 69), Halliday (for Windass 87), Cardoso (for Candeias 90).
Subs not used: Alnwick, Herrera, Hodson, Kranjcar.
Referee: Bobby Madden