Match ends, Aberdeen 1, Rangers 1.
Frustrated Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass says a wrong penalty decision cost his side victory over Rangers after a controversial draw at home with the Scottish Premiership leaders.
Within seconds of avoiding punishment when goalkeeper Allan McGregor caught Ryan Hedges inside the box, Rangers took the lead through Ianis Hagi.
Aberdeen hit back with a Lewis Ferguson spot-kick, ending Rangers' nine-match league winning run to leave them four points clear of Celtic. The Ibrox side had Ryan Kent harshly sent off late on.
"It's a penalty kick," Glass said of the McGregor incident. "Goalkeeper comes out, doesn't get near the ball, hits our forward player.
"The linesman said there wasn't enough contact then the referee told me at half-time there was no contact. It's an incident that has cost us probably winning the game."
Aberdeen stay sixth, now a point behind Hibernian. The Pittodrie men have not beaten Rangers in the league in more than three years, but were the better side in this full-blooded encounter and will feel aggrieved not to have ended that barren run.
The fuse was lit on a combustible fixture in the 20th minute. Hedges found himself with just McGregor in his path after racing on to a launched Jonny Hayes pass out of defence. McGregor rushed out to the edge of his box, got nothing on the ball as it was knocked past him, and caught Hedges with a flailing leg.
Referee Kevin Clancy ignored the vociferous Aberdeen appeals and Rangers quickly countered to compound the hosts' angst. Former Aberdeen winger Scott Wright switched play to Kent on the left and his sublime delivery left Hagi with a tap-in.
It was harsh on Glass' men, who had started strongly, with Teddy Jenks rattling the outside of the post and forcing McGregor into a fingertip save.
Buoyed by the goal, Rangers almost added a second when Alfredo Morelos chased down a woefully-short Funso Ojo backpass. Goalkeeper Joe Lewis got there in the nick of time, then scrambled across to punch off his line when James Tavernier's cross threatened to sneak in at the near post.
However, the champions were unable to build on that momentum as they dropped points for the first time under Giovanni van Bronckhorst who had steered them to seven straight Premiership wins.
Aberdeen captain Scott Brown blazed over a volley shortly after the restart, but his side were struggling to seriously test McGregor in the second half until the penalty. Ferguson, whose header hit the arm of Morelos at close range, marked his 150th club appearance by sending McGregor the wrong way with a low spot-kick.
There was still more drama and controversy to come. Lewis brilliantly tipped a Morelos volley away from the top corner, then Kent was harshly shown a second yellow for a challenge on Brown, who gleefully clapped his former Old Firm adversary off the pitch.
Connor McLennan was inches away from connecting with a Christian Ramirez cross as Aberdeen pushed a late winner, with Hedges then stabbing wide, as a frenetic contest ended with a point apiece.
Man of the match - Scott Brown
What did we learn?
Aberdeen need no extra motivation for a meeting with Rangers and have now bookended the Ibrox club's winning run with two draws that could have yielded more.
The return of Brown was key as Glass' men played with aggression and never allowed the visitors to settle. Fellow midfielder Jenks had his best game for the club and was unlucky not to score.
One defeat and four wins in Aberdeen's last six games shows Glass is overseeing steady progress.
For Rangers, this was as poorly as they have played under Van Bronckhorst. The absence of talisman Joe Aribo - away with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations - was telling in a disjointed performance.
Rangers didn't get to grips with Aberdeen's midfield three and paid the price for inviting pressure in the second half.
What did they say?
Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass: "Frustrated that we didn't get the three points. We looked the dominant team even after going a goal behind.
"I am disappointed for the players that they don't get what they really deserve."
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst told Sky Sports: "In the end, especially with 10 men, we were happy with 1-1.
"Sometimes you have games like this. It's not like every place we go, we dominate and create chances. We knew it was going to be hard here. Of course we wanted to be better, especially on the ball, but we weren't so we go back with a point."
Aberdeen welcome Edinburgh City to Pittodrie in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Saturday (15:00) before facing St Mirren on Premiership duty in Paisley next Wednesday (19:45).
Rangers have two home games looming - Stirling Albion in the cup on Friday (19:45) then a league meeting with Livingston next Wednesday (19:45).
- 22RamsaySubstituted forCampbellat 74'minutes
- 2McCrorieBooked at 58mins
- 17HayesBooked at 76mins
- 8BrownBooked at 39mins
- 16OjoSubstituted forMcLennanat 68'minutesBooked at 81mins
- 2TavernierBooked at 40mins
- 7HagiBooked at 6minsSubstituted forSakalaat 78'minutes
- 23WrightSubstituted forLundstramat 64'minutes
- 20MorelosBooked at 72minsSubstituted forIttenat 89'minutes
- 14KentBooked at 83mins
- Kevin Clancy
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aberdeen 1, Rangers 1.
Attempt missed. Teddy Jenks (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Christian Ramírez.
Ryan Hedges (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Borna Barisic (Rangers).
Attempt missed. Ryan Hedges (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by James Tavernier.
Substitution, Rangers. Cedric Itten replaces Alfredo Morelos.
Offside, Rangers. Fashion Sakala tries a through ball, but Alfredo Morelos is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Brown.
Attempt missed. Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Attempt blocked. Connor McLennan (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis Ferguson.
Second yellow card to Ryan Kent (Rangers) for a bad foul.
Scott Brown (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ryan Kent (Rangers).
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Joe Lewis.
Attempt saved. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by James Tavernier with a cross.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Connor McLennan.
Connor McLennan (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Connor McLennan (Aberdeen).