Aberdeen lost 2-1 to runaway Premiership leaders Rangers at Pittodrie in a game where boss Derek McInnes’ game-plan was ripped up following an early sending off.
The Dons were holding their own and competing well against the runaway league leaders until Ryan Hedges received a straight red card for a tackle on Alfredo Morelos midway through the first half.
James Tavernier missed the resultant penalty.
However Rangers netted through goals from Alfredo Morelos either side of half time.
Although a man down Aberdeen refused to buckle and pulled back a goal through a superb strike from substitute Matty Kennedy.
It made for a nervous finale for the league leaders.
There were three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Dundee United in the New Firm derby.
Midfielder Ross McCrorie dropped out as he is unavailable due to the terms of his season long loan from Rangers.
McCrorie, 22, will pen a permanent three-year contract with Aberdeen at the end of the campaign for £350,000.
Dropping to the bench were Niall McGinn and Matty Kennedy.
Attacker Scott Wright, who looks set to exit Pittodrie after contract talks broke down, came in for his first start since November 6 having recovered from double hernia surgery.
Also elevated into the starting line-up were striker Sam Cosgrove and midfielder Dean Campbell.
Rangers created the opening chance after just one minute when Ash Taylor misjudged a high ball and it ran through to Alfredo Morelos.
With keeper Joe Lewis off his line Morelos only had to lift it over him but miscued is effort. It was a let off.
Soon after Aberdeen threatened when Sam Cosgrove got in behind Connor Goldson who went to ground.
However Cosgrove lay back on his shot and fired it over from 22 yards.
In a frantic start Ianis Hagi moments later fired a vicious drive inches over the bar from outside the penalty area.
Attacker Wright was looking dangerous and cut into the box before drilling an enticing low cross along the face of goal in the 12th minute that was fired behind for a corner by Steven
A goal line clearance from Jonny Hayes denied Rangers in the 24the minute when he blocked a powerful drive from Ryan Kent.
The loss bell fell to James Tavernier who rifled in a vicious shot from the edge of the box but Joe Lewis spread himself to push wide.
Disaster struck for the Dons in the 26th minute when Morelos was fouled inside the box when the striker’s heel was clipped by Ryan Hedges.
Referee John Beaton raised a straight red to Welsh international Hedges – it was a harsh sending off.
Aberdeen’s game plan, which had been so effective, had to be ripped up after going a man down.Wright, who had been Aberdeen’s main creative spark, had to switch to wing back.
Tavernier fired the spot kick wide to let off Aberdeen.
However Rangers made the break-through in the 32nd minute when Ryan Kent found MORELOS inside the box and the striker turned and dragged a shot across Joe Lewis.
Given that Rangers had conceded only five goals in 22 Premiership matches Aberdeen had an uphill task.
In the 41st minute Main was booked for a dangerous high footed challenge on Barisic near the left byline.
Main was replaced by Logan soon after.
Rangers doubled their advantage in the 50th minute when the ball was worked out to Joe Aribo on the right who drilled a low cross into the box that was superbly flicked no by Kent to MORELOS.
The striker took a touch then fired a clinical 10 yard drive beyond Lewis.
A man and two goals down against the runaway unbeaten Premiership leaders – the harsh reality was it was now damage limitation for the Dons.
An excellent driving run from Cosgrove saw him retain possession as he ran 40 yards up field to draw a foul.
A brilliantly taken free kick from Cosgrove rolled the ball to Hayes who fired in a curling left footed strike from the edge of the box that Allan McGregor tipped off wide with a one handed diving save.
Against the odds Aberdeen hit back when Cosgrove found Hayes with a through ball and the wing back slid a superb weighted pass into the path of onrushing Matty KENNEDY.
Substitute Kennedy fired a superb 18 yard drive beyond McGregor.
Rangers wasted an opportunity in the 85th minute when Kent was played in on goal by a long pass but rather than shoot opted to hesitate, and cross inside.
However the Dons defence cleared the danger.
In the 87th minute Lewis did well to save a drive from Glen Kamara.
ABERDEEN: Joe Lewis, Tommie Hoban, Ash Taylor, Andy Considine, Ryan Hedges, Dean Campbell, Lewis Ferguson, Jonny Hayes, Scott Wright, Sam Cosgrove, Curtis Main.
Subs: Shay Logan (for Main 44), Matty Kennedy (for Wright 58), Ryan Edmondson (for Taylor 88),
Subs not used: Gary Woods, Funso-King Ojo, Niall McGinn, Bruce Anderson, Miko Virtanen, Kieran Ngwenya.
RANGERS: Allan McGregor, James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Ianis Hagi, Steven Davis, Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo, Glen Kamara, Alfredo Morelos, Leon Balogun, Borna Barisic.
Subs: Bongani Zungu (for Hagi 82)
Subs not used: Jon McLaughlin, Calvin Bassey, Filip Helander, Jermain Defoe, Cedric Itten, Nathan Patterson, Brandon Barker, Greg Stewart.
Referee: John Beaton