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BBC Sport's Roddy Forsyth
With a round-up of the action
 real 14k

Rangers boss Dick Advocaat
"They controlled the game without having many chances"
 real 14k

Aberdeen boss Ebbe Skovdahl
"It was a silly goal to give away"
 real 14k

Monday, 13 November, 2000, 00:23 GMT
Fortune favours Rangers at Pittodrie
Kenny Miller fires Rangers level at Pittodrie
Kenny Miller fires Rangers level at Pittodrie
Aberdeen 1-2 Rangers

Goals either side of half-time - and two terrible refereeing decisions - saved Rangers' season after the troubled Glasgow giants flirted with yet another disaster against a fired-up Aberdeen.

Dick Advocaat's men began the match 16 points behind Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic and they simply could not afford another defeat.

However, struggling Aberdeen, as they so often do against the Ibrox men, found their form and took the lead through Arild Stavrum.

The home side should have also had a penalty and Fernando Ricksen ought to have been sent off, only for Rangers to take the points thanks to goals from strikers Kenny Miller and Michael Mols.

Four substitutes

Lorenzo Amoruso was in the Rangers starting line-up, despite newspaper reports suggesting that the defender, stripped of the captaincy and criticised by his team-mates in their midweek Champions League exit, had been dropped.

Even so, his inclusion could have been because of late call-offs by Arthur Numan, Neil McCann and Tugay that forced Rangers to name just four substitutes, one less than permitted.

A back injury to Eoin Jess allowed fit-again Arild Stavrum to start up front and it was the experienced Norwegian who gave Ebbe Skovdahl's faltering young lions the lead after four minutes.

Kevin McNaughton crossed into the box and Bert Konterman failed to pick up Stavrum, who side-footed home from 12 yards to end Aberdeen's 409-minute goal drought.

Arild Stavrum celebrates opening the scoring
Arild Stavrum celebrates opening the scoring
At times, Aberdeen were like headless chickens, but their sheer enthusiasm was proving too much for an even more disorganised Rangers, although a Miller volley forced Ryan Esson into a superb, one-handed save.

Aberdeen ought to have been given a penalty after 34 minutes when Cato Guntveit put Stavrum clear inside the box, only to be hauled down from behind by Barry Ferguson, but referee Mike McCurry had a good view yet waved play on.

Six minutes later, Rangers were level, a neat turn and pass from Mols finding Miller on the edge of the box and the man who scored five against St Mirren turned away from his marker before driving the ball into the far corner.

Thomas Solberg was playing his first game since July and he may blame ring rust for losing the ball to Ronald de Boer after a poor free-kick by the now stranded Esson and the Dutchman rolled the ball to Mols, who slotted it calmly into the empty net.

Blatant kick

That came four minutes after a likely half-time roasting by Advocaat, but Ricksen's determination should have led to an early bath after a blatant kick at Darren Young that was again somehow missed by the officials.

Robbie Winters forced a couple of saves from Jesper Christiansen, who also did well to block a 10-yard drive from Darren Young after a head flick from striker Alex di Rocco, who was making his debut as a substitute after his loan move from French league leaders Sedan.

Mols came close to killing off Aberdeen when he almost caught out Esson with a cheeky back-heel, but the home side's hopes were all but sunk soon after, when Derek Young received his second red card of the season.

The 20-year-old had already been cautioned when he dived into a challenge on Scott Wilson studs first and, although Aberdeen fought pressed forward for the last 22 minutes, Rangers held on for an undeserved victory that keeps their title hopes alive.

Aberdeen: Esson, Rowson, Solberg, Whyte, McNaughton, D. Young, D. Young, Guntveit, Clark, Winters, Stavrum.

Subs: Preece, McAllister, Mayer, Perry, Di Rocco.

Rangers: Christensen, Ricksen, Amoruso, Konterman, Wilson, Vidmar, de Boer, Ferguson, Albertz, Mols, Miller.

Subs: Brown, Dodds, Adamczuk, Ross.

Referee: M McCurry.

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