Rangers surged 11 points clear of Celtic at the Scottish Premiership summit as they romped to victory over Aberdeen.
A deflected long-range strike by Ryan Kent put Steven Gerrard’s side in front and Kemar Roofe doubled that advantage.
Scott Arfield’s shot went in off Shay Logan and James Tavernier got the hosts’ fourth from the penalty spot.
The win, Rangers’ 13th of 15 league games, signalled the Ibrox side’s best start to a season in 53 years.
Sam Cosgrove, Ryan Hedges and Matty Kennedy threatened for Aberdeen but they could not prevent an 18th victory and 17th clean sheet in all competitions this term for Rangers.
Celtic, who drew at Hibernian on Saturday, have two games in hand over Rangers and are four points clear of Aberdeen.
- Reaction & as it happened
- Gerrard urges Rangers to ‘stay humble’
- Dons players among Scotland U21 squad isolating
Kent stayed onside to receive Tavernier’s pass and only had Joe Lewis to beat but the Aberdeen goalkeeper made an excellent stop in an early attack.
Lewis also smothered at the feet of Joe Aribo but the keeper was left helpless when Kent’s 35-yard effort took a nick off Tommie Hoban and went in off the post.
The visitors, without a glut of players because of injury and Covid-19 issues, had spent the first quarter of the match largely in their own half.
But a Hedges break drew Rangers in and allowed the winger to release Cosgrove, whose shot was touched out by Allan McGregor. The Rangers keeper also kept out a Hedges effort after another speedy advance by the Wales cap.
Aberdeen soon found themselves two down as Roofe took an excellent touch to control Connor Goldson’s chip forward and fire in off Lewis’ despairing save.
The Pittodrie side were not discouraged and Cosgrove and Hedges combined for the latter to get away a shot that Goldson blocked and Matty Kennedy tested McGregor with a well-struck free-kick.
But any optimism Aberdeen took into the second half quickly evaporated as Kent set up Arfield and the Canada midfielder’s left-foot shot smacked off Logan to wrong-foot Lewis.
Andy Considine was then penalised for grappling Leon Balogun to the ground and captain Tavernier scored for the 13th time this season.
Dean Campbell was sent on for Aberdeen and almost scored an own goal at a corner, Lewis coming to his rescue with the save.
And 16-year-old Ryan Duncan made his Dons debut as a substitute in the closing stages.
Man of the match – Ryan Kent
What did we learn?
Rangers’ record this season made them favourites pre-match, particularly in light of Aberdeen’s selection woes but Aberdeen had more reason than most to travel to Glasgow with optimism.
Derek McInnes’ side had drawn at Ibrox in February and had won two of their past five trips to the stadium and going forward, at least, they created problems through Cosgrove and Hedges.
Defensively, though, they struggled to cope with Rangers’ variation of short and long passes. However, they can count themselves unfortunate with the deflections for two of the goals they lost.
For Rangers, the stats continue to impress. Sixteen goals racked up in November to date and their unblemished defensive record at home in the league extends to an eighth game.
What did they say?
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: “We played some incredible stuff again. Some of our movement in the final third was exceptional. We are showing that relentlessness and really executing when we get in the right places.
“We were strong from start to finish and I managed to make five changes and look after people who have been doing a lot of travel. As far as I’m concerned, I’m extremely happy.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: “We came into the game with a lot of key players missing and Scott Wright added to the issues with a groin problem. It was a team we felt we had to pick rather than a team we necessarily wanted to pick.
“It didn’t feel as though we got the breaks, my players worked extremely hard despite the obvious difficulties. There was plenty effort from a lot of players who haven’t played a lot of games of late.”
Rangers resume their Europa League campaign on Thursday at home to Benfica (20:00 GMT), who are level on points with the Ibrox side at the top of Group D, before facing Falkirk in next Sunday’s Scottish League Cup tie (17:00). Aberdeen visit St Mirren in the last of Saturday’s cup matches (17:15).
Player of the match
with an average of 7.99
Squad number14Player nameKent
Squad number2Player nameTavernier
Squad number37Player nameArfield
Squad number25Player nameRoofe
Squad number6Player nameGoldson
Squad number8Player nameJack
Squad number17Player nameAribo
Squad number31Player nameBarisic
Squad number1Player nameMcGregor
Squad number10Player nameDavis
Squad number9Player nameDefoe
Squad number18Player nameKamara
Squad number26Player nameBalogun
Squad number20Player nameMorelos
Squad number7Player nameHagi
Squad number11Player nameItten
Squad number11Player nameHedges
Squad number1Player nameLewis
Squad number46Player nameDuncan
Squad number33Player nameKennedy
Squad number3Player nameHoban
Squad number16Player nameCosgrove
Squad number14Player nameTaylor
Squad number32Player nameEdmondson
Squad number5Player nameLeigh
Squad number4Player nameConsidine
Squad number2Player nameLogan
Squad number24Player nameCampbell
Squad number9Player nameMain
Squad number8Player nameOjo
Squad number22Player nameHernández
- 8JackSubstituted forDavisat 56′minutes
- 17AriboSubstituted forIttenat 75′minutes
- 25RoofeSubstituted forHagiat 74′minutes
- 20MorelosSubstituted forDefoeat 66′minutes
- 14KentSubstituted forKamaraat 66′minutes
- 4ConsidineBooked at 52mins
- 2LoganSubstituted forHernándezat 84′minutes
- 5LeighSubstituted forDuncanat 84′minutes
- 32EdmondsonSubstituted forMainat 64′minutes
- 16CosgroveSubstituted forCampbellat 74′minutes
Match ends, Rangers 4, Aberdeen 0.
Second Half ends, Rangers 4, Aberdeen 0.
Attempt blocked. Jermain Defoe (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Arfield.
Attempt blocked. Scott Arfield (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ianis Hagi.
Attempt missed. Cedric Itten (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by James Tavernier with a cross.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Ianis Hagi.
Foul by Jermain Defoe (Rangers).
Matthew Kennedy (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Dean Campbell.
Attempt missed. Ianis Hagi (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Glen Kamara.
Foul by Scott Arfield (Rangers).
Funso Ojo (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Ronald Hernández replaces Shaleum Logan.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Ryan Duncan replaces Greg Leigh.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Ash Taylor.
Attempt blocked. Ianis Hagi (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jermain Defoe.
Attempt saved. Curtis Main (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Attempt missed. Cedric Itten (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by James Tavernier with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Ash Taylor.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Funso Ojo.
- Loyle Carner Residence: Check out his specially selected tracks from influential artists
- The Players Podcast: A World Cup winner on getting to grips with British slang