SPL - Rangers win at Aberdeen

Fri, 28 Oct 15:19:00 2011

Rangers hung on to win 2-1 against Aberdeen at Pittodrie to pull further away at the top of the SPL.

Nikica Jelavic - 0

First-half substitute Kyle Lafferty fired the visitors into a 58th minute lead before Nikica Jelavic doubled the advantage from the penalty spot after Sasa Papac was felled in the box.

Rangers looked comfortable as the game drew to a close but Allan McGregor fumbled a Richard Foster long-range effort into his own net to set up a tense finale.

The victory was marred by what looked like a serious injury to Steven Naismith.

Suspended Ryan Jack joined injured Yoann Folly on the sidelines as seventh-placed Aberdeen welcomed a Rangers side on the back of 13 consecutive away wins to Pittodrie.

Despite last weekend’s defeat at Celtic, the Dons are on a good run of form - having defeated Dunfermline and Dundee United in successive home games - and roared on by a partisan home crowd they were unbowed by Rangers' impressive start to the season as they set about unsettling the reigning champions.

Kari Arnason picked up an early yellow in a feisty opening ten minutes before stinging the palms of McGregor from forty yards with a dipping volley and just as the game was settling into some form of rhythm both sides lost a man to injury.

A pretty innocuous-looking coming together of Robert Milson and Steven Naismith eventually saw both men leave the field - Milson was substituted straight away while Naismith continued only to collapse in a heap a few minutes later in some pain.

Darren Mackie and Lafferty were the replacements and both almost made telling contributions in what was turning into a scrappy affair.

Sasa Papac contrived to head an enticing Lafferty cross the wrong side of the post before Mackie went down under some pressure in the box from a Rangers defender having followed up a smart block from McGregor - but referee William Collum waved away the home side's claims of a penalty.

Rangers finished the half in the ascendancy but with the final ball all too often not of the required quality the teams went to half-time with the scores level.

The Dons began the second-half looking to show a little more ambition but it only served to encourage their visitors forward into the gaps - and with space down the wings the men from Glasgow looked far more threatening.

Lee McCulloch could only poke a rebound wide of the goal following a good save from David Gonzalez but the visitors didn't have to wait long to take the lead.

Steven Davis capitalised on a slip in the Aberdeen midfield to find Lafferty at an angle inside the box and the former Burnley man struck a sweet effort into the opposite corner.

Rangers were now firmly in the ascendancy and it was of little surprise when they doubled their lead. Mackie brought down Papac and Jelavic made no mistake from the spot.

With a two goal advantage and having not conceded on the road in the league this season, Rangers appeared to be cruising until a handling error from McGregor gave the home side hope, but they could not capitalise on Foster's 82nd minute strike.

The task was made that much easier for the visitors when Rory Fallon saw red for leading with his elbow going for a header. The win moves Rangers nine points clear at the top of the table but seemingly at a cost given the injury to Naismith.

Marcus Foley / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account