Jelavic and Lafferty seal victory over Aberdeen

Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2

Aberdeen 1 Rangers 2

Steven Naismith was stretchered off as Rangers maintained their 100% away record in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with victory over 10-man Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

A clinical finish from Kyle Lafferty after 58 minutes and a Nikica Jelavic penalty 11 minutes later after Darren Mackie had fouled Sasa Papac gave the Gers their seventh win from seven on their travels.

Richard Foster netted a consolation for the Dons courtesy of an error by Allan McGregor before Rory Fallon saw red for elbowing Dorin Goian in the closing moments.

The Rangers win, however, came at a cost with Naismith collapsing to the ground unchallenged in the first half after appearing to twist his knee moments after hurting himself in a collision with Dons midfielder Rob Milsom.

The Light Blues made only one change from the side that defeated Hearts 2-0 at Tynecastle last weekend with Lafferty making way for Croatia international Jelavic.

Aberdeen, who were searching for their third successive home win, were without Ryan Jack who was suspended following his red card in their 2-1 defeat to Celtic.

Top scorer Scott Vernon was another notable absentee for the Dons with Chris Clark and Rory McArdle coming in to replace the missing duo.

Aberdeen, who deployed Fallon as a lone striker in a defensive 4-5-1 formation, made a promising start with Milsom dragging a shot past the post from the edge of the area.

Kari Arnason was shown the first yellow card of the match after only eight minutes for a late challenge on Gers captain Steven Davis.

The Iceland international was involved again two minutes later when his powerfully struck volley from 35 yards forced McGregor into a desperate save.

The Dons were forced into an early change when Milsom limped off following a late challenge from Naismith and was replaced by Mackie.

Naismith was hurt making the challenge and was eventually stretchered off the park after appearing to twist his knee unchallenged and was replaced by Northern Ireland international Lafferty after 24 minutes.

Rangers went close to opening the scoring five minutes later when a Lafferty cross found Papac unmarked at the back post but the Bosnian defender’s diving header flew wide.

The home fans were appealing for a penalty after 33 minutes when Mackie fell under pressure from Goian after McGregor had blocked Clark’s low drive but referee Willie Collum waved play on.

Maurice Edu joined Arnason in the referee’s notebook for a mistimed challenge on the Dons midfielder seven minutes before the break.

The visitors carved out an early opening after the restart when Jelavic cut the ball back for the advancing Lafferty but the striker failed to connect with the ball properly and pulled his shot wide.

The Rangers pressure continued after 51 minutes when Aberdeen goalkeeper David Gonzalez was called upon to block Jelavic’s effort before Lee McCulloch fired the rebound wide under pressure from Andrew Considine.

And the eventual opener for Rangers arrived after 58 minutes when, after a costly slip by Foster as he tried to clear, Davis threaded an inch-perfect pass through to Lafferty who rifled the ball across Gonzalez into the bottom corner of the net.

The Ibrox side had the chance to double their lead after 69 minutes when Mackie brought down Papac in the penalty box as he was about to pull the trigger and Jelavic duly despatched the spot-kick past Gonzalez.

Foster, who spent last season on loan at Rangers, pulled a goal back for the Dons when McGregor failed to keep out his shot from distance to concede the Gers’ first goal away from home this season.

But any hopes of a Dons comeback disappeared on the stroke of full time when Fallon was given his marching orders for appearing to elbow Goian.

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