Dons topple unbeaten leaders
Miller strike enough to sink Rangers
Last Updated: November 28, 2009 3:25pm
Miller: Only goal of the game
SPL leaders Rangers suffered their first league defeat of the season after losing 1-0 to 10-man Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
Lee Miller's first-half goal settled the contest while the win was made even more special as the home side battled for much of the second half a man light following Mark Kerr's dismissal.
Aberdeen started brightly and their positive play was rewarded on 17 minutes when Lee Miller guided the ball home from close range after Michael Paton got the better of Steven Whittaker.
Rangers felt they should have won a penalty when Whittaker went down under pressure from Chris Maguire, but nothing was given before Kyle Lafferty headed over from Kris Boyd's driven shot.
A fantastic second-half save from Jamie Langfield kept out Boyd's half-volley and Aberdeen's task became even greater when captain Kerr was shown a second yellow card for hauling down Steven Naismith.
Despite Rangers dominating possession throughout the second half, including laying siege to Langfield's goal, Mark McGhee's side held on for the points.
Rangers gave the makeshift Aberdeen rearguard, with a central defensive pairing of Richard Foster and Charlie Mulgrew, an early warning when Lee McCulloch headed wide from a Fleck corner.
The home side also started brightly with Maguire volleying over the bar followed by a mazy Peter Pawlett run that ended with the teenager's shot being deflected wide for a fruitless corner.
Aberdeen's positive start was rewarded after 17 minutes when Paton twisted past Whittaker to drive a low cross into the box that was prodded home by Miller for his third goal of the season.
Rangers could have restored parity after 26 minutes when Boyd skipped past Foster before unleashing a volleyed shot-cum-cross that was headed over by Lafferty with the goal gaping.
The away support were screaming for a penalty on the half hour when Whittaker fell under pressure from Maguire but referee Craig Thomson waved play on.
The lack of height in the home defence was encouraging Rangers to take a direct approach and a hopeful kick up field by Allan McGregor allowed Boyd to outmuscle Foster but Jamie Langfield palmed away the striker's effort.
Foster then rescued the Reds when he got his body in front of Boyd's goal-bound left-footed volley as the visitors were denied an equaliser just before the break.
The ineffective Lafferty was replaced at half-time by Miller and the substitute had an early chance to make an impact but his weak shot was easily gathered by Langfield.
The Dons had a great opportunity to double their advantage when Sasa Papac was booked for upending the lively Pawlett on the edge of the box. But the Bosnian made amends by clearing Mulgrew's free-kick, which took a wicked deflection, off the line.
The Dons were reduced to 10 men on the hour when Kerr, who had already been booked for a foul on Naismith after 49 minutes, was given a second yellow for another challenge on the same player.
Stuart Duff came on for Maguire a couple of minutes later as the home side readjusted their formation to cope with their numerical disadvantage.
The visitors, who were struggling to break down a battling Dons defence, introduced Bougherra for Whittaker with 14 minutes left to play.
The home side were camped in their own half with little respite in the final stages but were working hard to withstand the incessant pressure.
The impressive Paton was withdrawn for Darren Mackie in the closing stages as the Dons tried to hold on for a famous victory.
Mulgrew managed to prevent substitute Nacho Novo netting with a last-ditch clearance before Boyd was denied by Langfield as the hard working Dons held on for all three points.