Outfought, outclassed and over-run Aberdeen’s injury crisis does not excuse the Ibrox shocker.
Aberdeen were weakened with eight players ruled out but boss Derek McInnes still fielded a team strong enough to compete.
That they failed to is a concern as the Reds slumped to the heaviest defeat under Derek McInnes.
Regardless of injury absences Aberdeen should not be losing by five goals to anyone.
Bullied at Ibrox, the three victories over Rangers in Glasgow last season seemed a lifetime ago.
There will undoubtedly be a post-mortem into this heavy loss by McInnes and his players and the Reds’ mentality during this defeat must also be addressed.
Aberdeen were like rabbits caught in the headlights from the moment Rangers went ahead.
Positives? It could have been worse. Rangers had 27 shots with 11 of them on target.
Only the heroics of keeper Joe Lewis prevented a depressing defeat from becoming an embarrassing slaughtering.
That the keeper was the standout man of the match in a five goal humiliation tells its own depressing story.
Instead of going for a fourth win in Glasgow in a year, this became more an exercise in damage limitation. Yet still there was significant damage inflicted.
This was concrete confirmation of a sobering reality that normal service appears to have been resumed in Scottish football as to the domination of Celtic and Rangers. The Glasgow two look set to dominate the Premiership with teams like Aberdeen battling it out for third – at best.
This completed a bad week for Aberdeen. They were terrible at Livingston but ground out a win.
They blew a League Cup semi-final slot by conceding an equaliser in injury time and imploding in the penalty shoot-out.
Aberdeen gave Rangers too much space by lacking the necessary aggression. Steve Davis and Ryan Jack dictated the game.
Had the tenacity of injured Craig Bryson been available and the ball recycling of Funso Ojo the Dons will have been stronger to face a Rangers side clearly desperate to gain revenge for those three losses in Glasgow.
Rangers dominated early possession, and had shots go wide from Morelos, twice, and Greg Stewart in the opening quarter hour.
An inevitable opener came in the 20th minute when Morelos broke into the box and was brought down by Zak Vyner.
Referee Bobby Madden awarded a penalty which James TAVERNIER blasted past Lewis.
Moments later Morelos rounded Lewis before shooting from 12 yards but Mikey Devlin was placed to clear off the line.
The overworked Lewis then saved from Sheyi Ojo and blocked a Scott Arfield 25 yard drive. It was 2-0 in the 40th minute when Arfield met a Tavernier cross but Lewis brilliantly pushed the header onto the post. STEWART reacted quickly to fire into the empty net from three yards.
In the 47th minute Lewis yet again saved well to push a vicious 20 yard drive from Stewart behind for a corner.
Stewart later hit the post.
It was 3-0 in the 50th minute when Borna Barisic crossed from the left to the back post and MORELOS drifted in unchecked to beat Lewis from six yards with an angled downward header.
Morelos then had a goal bound shot deflected over the bar by Leigh. In the 67th minute the Reds mustered an effort when Devlin headed wide.
Moments later Lewis again produced a superb save when pushing a powerful drive from Stewart over the bar.
In the 70th minute it was 4-0 as Tavernier crossed into the box towards Stewart, who was bundled over by Leigh. TAVERNIER converted the spot kick.
It was 5-0 as Jermain DEFOE drifted in unchallenged to lift a shot over Lewis.