Two goals in two minutes saved Rangers' title bid when it looked set to fall at the penultimate hurdle against Aberdeen.
With two matches left of the season a win was necessary to move top of The SPL for at least 24 hours and an own goal from Richie Foster and a header from Kenny Miller, before a Michael Paton consolation strike, was enough to seal a 2-1 win.
The pressure was on Rangers to start the game well and go out for the goals that would settle some nerves, but they never came, with the first half a tight affair.
Kenny Miller and Kris Boyd were both unlucky not to tap in crosses when they slid in at the back post, but the fireworks truly went off in the 18th minute.
Kyle Lafferty caught Charlie Mulgrew late before embarrassing himself in order to get the Aberdeen man sent-off.
Mulgrew overreacted to put his face in front of the Northern Ireland international’s, but Lafferty lent in towards the defender before diving to the ground.
Referee Stuart Dougal went into his top pocket to bring out a red card for Mulgrew before flashing a yellow at Lafferty, a decision that wrongly changed the game.
The numbers were evened out six minutes before the interval when Madjid Bougherra was sent for an early bath.
The Algeria defender slid in on Jamie Langfield as the keeper came to collect the ball and caught The Dons man with his studs in the face.
Bougherra could not really complain about the decision, but the Gers fans will certainly feel the referee was just leveling things up.
Rangers looked the more likely to scoring in the opening period, with the pick of the chances falling to Steven Davis.
The former Fulham midfielder found himself on the edge of the box before unleashing a stunning drive across the box; Sasa Papac flicked a foot at the ball to deflect it off the post before it bounced to safety.
Boyd also dragged Langfield into action with a snapshot from a Maurice Edu cross which looked set to go into the bottom corner, but the 29-year-old reacted well to push it wide.
With the half drawing to a close, Neil Alexander was forced to make his first real save of the half.
Peter Pawlett ran at the home defense before sending a thumping effort towards the top corner that the goalkeeper had to stretch and tip over.
Rangers looked the hungrier after the interval, with Miller and Lafferty both having chances before the opener on 65 minutes.
Miller attacked down the left wing before being allowed to blast a cross along the six-yard-box.
Lafferty was ready to finish but poor old Richie Foster attempted to clear and only managed to put the ball beyond his own keeper.
Barely 120 seconds later Miller stepped up to double the advantage for his side.
A Nacho Novo corner was easily headed beyond Langfield when he lost Foster to calmly place the ball into the net.
Walter Smith’s men started to defend deeper and deeper after their second and were made to pay the price.
Substitute Michael Paton was picked out in the box from a long ball that he brought down excellently.
The striker was allowed the space to turn and squeezed his shot beyond Alexander into the corner.
But, despite throwing everything at Rangers, the points were to stay in Glasgow to pile the pressure on Celtic at Hibernian, while Jimmy Calderwood will need a favor from Hearts to keep his side’s bid for a Europa League place alive.ca
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