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Rangers beat Aberdeen to replace them in second place

Rangers' Josh Windass celebrates his goal at Pittodrie

Josh Windass (right) scored Rangers’ second goal at Pittodrie – his fourth in six games

Ten-man Rangers beat Aberdeen for the second time in a week to replace them in second place in the Premiership.

Danny Wilson headed into the corner to give Rangers the lead, and Aberdeen’s only first-half response was an Andrew Considine header against the crossbar.

Former Dons midfielder Ryan Jack was sent off after the break, but Josh Windass fired Rangers further in front.

Teenage substitute Frank Ross curled in an immediate reply from a fine free-kick, but Rangers held on for the win.

The Glasgow side, still under caretaker manager Graeme Murty, had thumped the Dons 3-0 at Ibrox on Wednesday.

They overtake Derek McInnes’ side, seven points behind leaders Celtic, on goal difference.

Rangers' Ryan Jack is sent off by referee Willie Collum<!–

Ryan Jack was sent off against his former club by Willie Collum

The soap opera that is Rangers’ pursuit of a new manager continues with McInnes still cast in the lead role.

McInnes has been royally fed-up with all the speculation linking him with the job, but his frustration would have been as nothing compared to the way his team started this game.

After their loss at Ibrox, he would have been expecting a response from the first whistle at Pittodrie. What he got instead, for much of the opening half, was a passive performance, an effort lacking in all the things that have made Aberdeen the second best team in Scotland in recent years.

Rangers got off to an embarrassing beginning when Windass was correctly booked for diving in an attempt to win a penalty. They gathered their composure quickly, though, and were ahead on the 14th minute.

A Declan John free-kick from the right did not look like it was going to produce a goal as it descended in Wilson’s vicinity. The centre-half was about 15 yards out but was given space by a dozing Aberdeen defence to measure his header.

He looped it high beyond Joe Lewis, who looked hypnotised in the moment, and it fell into his net for an opener that was greeted thunderously by the visiting support.

Rangers' Danny Wilson celebrates opening the scoring<!–

Danny Wilson opened the scoring but went off injured at half-time

Lewis was a whole lot smarter when dealing with a Windass shot just after the half-hour. By then, Pittodrie was quiet.

Aberdeen had done precious little to get their fans on their feet. Before kick-off, McInnes had asked his players to take responsibility, but it was not a red jersey that was standing out, it was a man in blue that used to be a man in red.

Darkness would later fall on Jack, but while the midfielder was on the pitch, he was a dominant presence.

At last, a minute before the break, the Dons had something to shout about when, from Greg Stewart’s free-kick, Considine thundered a header off Wes Foderingham’s crossbar. They survived another scare when Kenny Miller went through one-on-one with Lewis but lost the contest.

Then, drama. Ten minutes into the second half, Jack went into a tackle with Stevie May and left his foot in to such an extent that the striker was fortunate to avoid a bad injury.

Willie Collum whipped out the red card – and he was right. It was the fourth red of Jack’s season, albeit two of them were later rescinded.

Aberdeen's Frank Ross scores from a free-kick<!–

Aberdeen Frank Ross scored on his second substitute appearance of the season

Aberdeen had a massive opportunity – and they blew it. Eight minutes after Jack walked, Rangers doubled their lead.

The Dons gave away possession and away Rangers went. Daniel Candeias scampered down the right and squared for Windass, who finished coolly.

Pittodrie seethed, but hope arrived in the shape of 19-year-old Ross, who made it 2-1 with the most sumptuous free-kick that curled into Foderingham’s top right-hand corner. The goalkeeper got a hand to it, but such was the excellence of Ross’ strike, he could not keep it out.

It was a terrific moment, but it was not enough. Aberdeen pushed on, threatened an equaliser at times against the 10 men, but Rangers’ defence just about held firm.

For Aberdeen, losing to their bitter rivals once in a week was bad enough, but losing twice was horrific. Their supporters were an angry lot on the full-time whistle.

For Rangers, another fine victory as they search for a new manager.

McInnes is a roaring hot favourite with the bookmakers, available at the unbackable odds of 1-25. That saga should come to a conclusion this week.

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 1, Rangers 2.

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 1, Rangers 2.

Eduardo Herrera (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ross McCrorie (Rangers).

Substitution, Rangers. Eduardo Herrera replaces Josh Windass.

Attempt missed. Scott McKenna (Aberdeen) header from very close range misses to the left.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by David Bates.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by David Bates.

Foul by Anthony O’Connor (Aberdeen).

James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Fábio Cardoso.

Attempt missed. Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Hand ball by Daniel Harvie (Aberdeen).

Substitution, Aberdeen. Daniel Harvie replaces Andrew Considine.

Scott McKenna (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Josh Windass (Rangers).

Attempt saved. Nicky Maynard (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

(Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adam Rooney (Aberdeen).

(Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Frank Ross (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal! Aberdeen 1, Rangers 2. Frank Ross (Aberdeen) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

Frank Ross (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ross McCrorie (Rangers).

Goal! Aberdeen 0, Rangers 2. Josh Windass (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Daniel Candeias with a cross.

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jason Holt (Rangers).

Substitution, Aberdeen. Nicky Maynard replaces Stevie May because of an injury.

Foul by Kenny Miller (Rangers).

Anthony O’Connor (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Fábio Cardoso.

Substitution, Rangers. Daniel Candeias replaces Carlos Peña.

Ryan Jack (Rangers) is shown the red card.

Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Josh Windass (Rangers).

Jason Holt (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen).

Substitution, Aberdeen. Frank Ross replaces Scott Wright.

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