Rangers 1 Aberdeen 3 – Michael Beale on the brink as ten-man Gers humbled at home with Scott Wright sent off
RANGERS are ripping up their scouting department.
But Michael Beale must now fear being moved on too after his new recruits badly let him down again.
A midweek cup win over Livingston temporarily lifted some of the gloom around Ibrox.
The Ibrox board must now decide if their gaffer is or not.
As has so often been the case this term there was a lack of ability, urgency, dynamism and creativity.
Then when the going got tough and the abuse started there were so many out there who simply couldn’t handle the pressure of wearing the Rangers jersey.
Jose Cifuentes looked like his head was spinning after missing one great chance to score then making two blunders in the build-up to Aberdeen’s opener.
Half-time sub Scott Wright’s sending off for two bookings in the space of 16 second half minutes piled on the misery.
They weren’t the only ones who failed to produce for their gaffer against a Dons side that had managed just two points from their last nine visits.
The new signings were under the microscope as news had broken that scouts Billy Kirkwood, John Brown and Billy McLaren would all be leaving as the club moved towards a data-led operation.
The stats from this clash would certainly have been damning.
It’s now three defeats from seven and a seven-point gap to Celtic - and we’re only just entering into October.
For all the Gers boss will cop the flak, so Dons counterpart Barry Robson deserves to be praised for the way he and his side dealt with the occasion.
Like Beale, he’d found himself running the gauntlet as he tried to bed in 13 new faces.
But after sucking up Gers’ early pressure they took a 38th minute lead through Stefan Gartenmann then doubled their advantage through Jamie McGrath after the break.
After Wright’s exit Abdallah Sima pulled one back but it was a temporary respire as Jack MacKenzie drilled home the third with five minutes left.
Skipper Graeme Shinnie played an inspirational role.
Rangers had started with intent with the Dons set up in a system which could become five at the back and four in midfield.
Inside three minutes James Tavernier threaded in Dessers but a fourth goal of the season didn’t arrive as he scooped over.
It wasn’t the start he’d have wanted and it did nothing to get the supporters off his back. Cifuentes floated in a cross which Sima might have done better with than nod wide of the target.
At that stage Gers had seen 78 percent of possession but their play had been too pedestrian. Dessers headed Ryan Jack’s cross goalwards but Kelle Roos pushed away.
Then Tavernier picked out Cifuentes at the back post but he failed to get enough on his header and once more the ball sailed wide.
But moments later the Ecuadorian didn’t cover himself in glory at the other end as he played a key role in the Dons taking a shock lead.
First he caught Graeme Shinnie to concede a free-kick which was deflected for a corner.
Then when Leighton Clarkson’s flag kick was floated in he switched off to allow Gartenmann the freedom of Ibrox to steer home.
It was the Dons’ first effort on target and it was so easy it was untrue.
Anger poured down from the stands and it wasn’t helped when Dessers headed wide once more before Steve McLean’s whistle triggered boos and whistles.
Beale needed the half-time teamtalk of his life to lift his side - and maybe save his job.
The switch came close to working when Barisic drove through a sea of bodies but Roos got down to push away before being helped out by his defenders.
Rangers did their best to gift wrap another for the Dons when Dessers was slack in his own half.
He was too easily robbed by Clarkson who crossed to the back post where Bojan Miovski nodded off the woodwork.
Beale left his position on the edge of the technical area to shelter from the flak in his dugout - but things were to get even worse in the 68th minute as the Dons grabbed a second.
After a corner was cleared to Slobodan Rubezic his shot was blocked then Richard Jensen’s effort was also charged down.
McGrath had a go before the ball broke to MacKenzie whose effort was beaten away by Jack Butland.
The grounded keeper - Beale’s one standout signing - was left helpless as McGrath bundled in.
A Rangers scarf was thrown down from the stands and landed on the home dugout as supporters lost the plot and some headed for the exits.
Three minutes later Gers’ ability to hit back was hampered further as Wright was given his marching orders.
He’d been booked for a challenge on MacKenzie earlier in the half and saw red for a second late tackle on Gartenmann.
Yet Gers pulled one back with 14 minutes left after Roos flapped at a high cross under pressure from Tavernier and Cifuentes squared for Sima to tap home.
Incredibly the Dons struck a third in the 85th minute, with MacKenzie drilling in off the bar after another top save from Butland had denied Jonny Hayes.
Those who were left inside the stadium didn’t hold back as Tavernier led some of his side around the pitch.