Dons legend Jim Bett says Aberdeen’s win at Ibrox proves they have the bottle to handle big games.
The Reds recovered from Sunday’s League Cup final loss to Celtic by beating Rangers 1-0 in Govan on Wednesday night.
Derek McInnes’ men did it the hard way. After Scott McKenna’s opener on seven minutes, the Granite City team were reduced to 10 men when Sam Cosgrove was hashly sent off shortly after the half hour.
The Dons didn’t buckle and in the second half, on 64 minutes, Rangers had Alfredo Morelos sent off and the Reds held on to win 1-0.
It was an impressive result for Aberdeen after Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Hampden and up against an in-form Gers who were top of the Premiership prior to Wednesday’s clash.
Bett, who made more than 300 appearances for the Dons between 1985 and 1994, watched the game at home in Iceland and reckons the result shows McInnes’ men proved they can handle the crunch clashes with Celtic and Rangers.
The 59-year-old said: “After the cup final against Celtic it was a great way for Aberdeen to come back.
“It’s never easy going to Ibrox, but particularly after losing the cup final. The team showed a lot of character and they played very well. I watched the game on TV.
“It was impressive to win after playing with 10 men for a long time.
“I think the referee was a bit hard on Cosgrove, it looked like their defender kicked him.
“But Aberdeen did really well because it can be hard enough playing at Ibrox with 11 men.
“Rangers have been playing well recently and had a full house behind them.
“So going down to 10 men and managing to win 1-0 shows great character in the team.
“I think that result shows they can handle big games.
“They showed character and you could see that from the start of the game. The whole team were up for it and it’s always hard to go to Glasgow for cup finals and league games.
“The whole team played well and put in so much work and got the benefit from that.”
Bett won two League Cups (1985 and 1989) and two Scottish Cups (1986 and 1990) with the Dons.
The former midfielder was also on the losing side in cup finals and knows how difficult it can be to recover from crushing defeats.
In May 1991 the former Lokeren and Ranger players was in the Reds team which lost the league on the final day of the season to Gers after a 2-0 defeat, but they bounced back and won at Ibrox 2-0 on their next visit the following September.
Bett added: “If you lose a cup final it is difficult to lift yourself.
“After losing you go home and you spend the next few days thinking about the loss.
“But it benefited the team to have a game so quickly after Sunday because it meant they didn’t spend the whole week thinking about the final.
“And then going and getting three points at Ibrox means their confidence will come back and hopefully they can push on up the league from there. We had a very good team at that time (1991), we always went down to Glasgow with confidence, whether we were playing Celtic or Rangers.
“To lose that game to Rangers on the final day was soul-destroying and the worst thing about it was that we had to wait the whole summer to play them again.
“We were thinking about it and we were always fairly confident going down to Glasgow because we had proven we could win there before.
“Hopefully Aberdeen can push on from that result on Wednesday and climb up the league.”
Something else that impressed Bett about Wednesday’s win was the performance of central midfielders Lewis Ferguson, Dom Ball and Graeme Shinnie, as well as Connor McLennan who played out wide and up front.
Bett said: “The midfield worked very hard and the youngster McLennan did really well also.
“He looks a really good prospect and it’s encouraging that when he gets the ball he is very direct and just goes at defenders.
“When you go to Ibrox, Parkhead and Hampden, the midfield has got to play well if you want to get a result – and they played very well on Wednesday.”