ABERDEEN supporters will have to go back a fair few years to recall a day as wretched as this one.

Defeat at home to 10-man Rangers is bad enough, but the misery of that was compounded by the fear their manager could well be on his way to their most hated club. That saga still has to be played out.

Derek McInnes’s memory failed him when talking about his starting line-up during a television interview but at least he got the name of his team right. It is Aberdeen. For how much longer is now the big question. If McInnes does move, yesterday’s match will not count as a fitting farewell.

Even for such a bonkers fixture, there were more talking points than usual. The biggest moment was a red card for Ryan Jack on his return to Pittodrie, although a few others could have been sent off.

This is far from a vintage Rangers side, but they they lasted 25 minutes with a man down and still won. That could well be the last game in charge of Rangers for Graeme Murty, the interim manager, and if so then he deserved his name being chanted at the end.

As for Aberdeen, they have lost twice to a managerless Rangers over the past five days, were played off their own park by Celtic, who beat them six times in the last campaign, got knocked out the League Cup at Motherwell, and fell short in Europe.

We had to wait only five minutes for one of those incidents which this fixture frequently coughs up.

Windass took the ball around Lewis but foolishly tried to buy a penalty, which referee Willie Collum wasn’t for selling, and he got booked for an obvious dive. Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie was rightly booked for a late tackle on James Tavernier. Collum was a busy man. It was that kind of day.

Shinnie tripped Holt on 14 minutes, it wasn’t worth a second yellow, but it was a definite free-kick and it led to the opener.

Declan John sent a cross deep into the Aberdeen box and Danny Wilson found it far too easy to get his head to the ball and direct it past a static Lewis.

The home support had to wait until the last minute of the half to see their team do something.

Greg Stewart had Holt on the ropes near the touchline with his twist and turns, and the Rangers player illegally brought down his man. Stewart delivered a superb free-kick and Andrew Considine beat everyone to it but his header rattled the crossbar.

On 56 minutes came the moment which the game had always threatened, when Jack had a rush of blood. He will claim the ball was there to be won but the former Aberdeen captain was high and went in with a force which today is frowned upon.

It was Jack’s fourth red card of the season, although two have been rescinded.

This, then, should have been the start of Aberdeen getting in about Rangers. Instead, they fell further behind.

On 63 minutes, the excellent James Tavernier ate up 40 yards with a dribble before slipping a pass to Cardoso. His cross for Windass was inch-perfect and the Englishman buried his finish low past Lewis.

Aberdeen were back in it within a couple of minutes. They won a free-kick 25 yards from goal, substitute Frank Ross placed the ball on the turf, sized up the situation and then sent a superb curling effort into the top corner despite the best effort of Wes Foderingham.

Aberdeen huffed and puffed in a vain bid to find an equaliser. However, the best team won.

Rangers are now up to second. And now we wait to see what the next few days will bring.