Rangers 2-0 Aberdeen
Last updated on .From the section Football
Rangers survived a second-half onslaught from Aberdeen to record a first home win under new manager Ally McCoist and stay top of the league.
Captain Steven Davis coolly chipped in to give Rangers an early lead with 15 minutes gone.
Richard Foster headed against the crossbar as Aberdeen improved in the second half.
But Steven Naismith tapped in a rebound from Davis's free kick in the dying seconds to secure victory.
The hosts made two changes to the side that was knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday. Naismith returned from suspension with youngster Ross Perry also added to the starting line-up.
Aberdeen meanwhile arrived at Ibrox without a victory there in almost 20 years, and there were early concerns for the visitors when Isaac Osbourne had to leave the field within seconds of kick-off after being caught by the trailing arm of Maurice Edu.
The 10 men left on the pitch dealt adequately with early opportunities for Rangers, Osbourne returning after a seven-minute absence sporting a head wound.
But despite being back at their full complement, Aberdeen were undone on the 15th minute mark.
Nikica Jelavic flicked the ball on to Davis who had timed his run to perfection and casually sent a lofted ball to the left hand side of David Gonzalez in the Aberdeen goal.
Craig Brown's side struggled to find any fluidity in the aftermath of the goal, but Rangers didn't capitalise, coming closest to a second from a set piece on the half hour mark; Gregg Wylde delivering from the corner flag to Dorin Goian at the near post, who headed over the bar.
For Aberdeen, Kari Arnason had the only real chance of the first half, but his shot from 25 yards fizzed well wide, with Allan McGregor otherwise untroubled in the Rangers goal.
Rangers made a change on the stroke of half-time when Goian was replaced by Steven Whittaker, who had been sidelined with a broken toe.
But it was a nervy restart for the home side when Carlos Bocanegra and Perry had a misunderstanding in defence which allowed Scott Vernon a much-needed chance for Aberdeen. McGregor, suddenly called into action, forced the Dons striker wide to extinguish the chance.
But Bocanegra gifted Aberdeen another chance, almost heading into his own net when clearing a Rory McArdle cross. McGregor clawed it away only as far as Foster whose diving header from eight yards out came off the crossbar in what was Aberdeen's best chance of an equaliser.
Rangers adapted to a 4-5-1 formation but struggled to control the midfield area as Aberdeen became more ambitious as the second half wore on, Fraser Fyvie joining the list of players making an attempt on goal.
The midfielder created space for himself before unleashing a shot from 25 yards out which forced another save from McGregor.
McCoist chose to introduce new signing Alejandro Bedoya for the remaining 20 minutes, Kyle Lafferty the player to give way.
And in added time the home side finally put the tie out of Aberdeen's reach. Davis's free kick from 25 yards out was spilled by the Dons' keeper with Naismith quick to pounce and tap the ball into the net to secure a valuable but unconvincing win.