Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes admits speculation linking him with the Rangers job could be affecting his players.
The Ibrox side picked up their second win over the Dons this week at Pittodrie on Sunday, amid continued speculation about McInnes.
Aberdeen have now won just once in their last five matches.
"It's been driven by whoever and whether the players are affected, I don't know," McInnes told BBC Scotland.
"It's an easy thing to say and you can make that assumption, but a lot of the players are still playing at a good level, some not so.
"It's certainly not doing us any favours."
McInnes, a former Rangers player, recently backed his chairman Stewart Milne's assertion that he is committed to the Pittodrie outfit as Rangers look for a replacement for Pedro Caixinha, who was sacked in October.
The Dons secured a fine win at Kilmarnock last week, but Rangers have now replaced them in second place in the Premiership, on goal difference, thanks to a 3-0 win at Ibrox on Wednesday and Sunday's 2-1 victory.
"It's certainly not been encouraged by anyone here - I've not been happy with how things have played out," McInnes added of the speculation.
"We were fantastic last week against Kilmarnock - a very Aberdeen performance - but during the week we didn't play well. I don't think I set us up in the right way, but today we were far better set up and were really committed.
"It's been the elephant in the room for the last five or six weeks. I'm not going to stand here and make any assumptions about what another club wants to do. You can see today how passionate we are about getting a result for Aberdeen."
Danny Wilson gave Rangers the lead at Pittodrie and after Ryan Jack was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Stevie May, the 10-man Ibrox side doubled their lead through Josh Windass.
Frank Ross made it 2-1 with a fantastic free-kick but the visitors held on for a huge win.
"I thought it was harsh on us to lose the game," McInnes added. "I thought we deserved something.
"They got a set-play goal and that's very disappointing. It gives them a bit of impetus.
"I thought we were good value in the second half. The sending-off changes things and then their only real threat is on the counter - and it's a ridiculous goal to lose, we were sloppy in midfield.
"I thought we deserved something from it. It was a really motivated and committed performance."