GRAEME Souness’s league debut as Rangers manager ended in disgrace and disappointment back in 1986 when he was red carded after scything down George McCluskey in a game against Hibernian at Easter Road.

Steven Gerrard, his fellow Liverpool great, saw his hopes of getting off to a winning start in the same competition ended by a similar act of rashness against Aberdeen at Pittodrie yesterday.

When Alfredo Morelos, the Rangers striker, got himself sent off for petulantly kicking out at Scott McKenna, the Aberdeen centre half who had just barged into him, off the ball after just 12 minutes it immediately jeopardised the visitors’ prospects of success.

It was an instinctive reaction by the temperamental young forward to a little rough treatment by his opponent and only the slightest contact was made. Gerrard felt it was a harsh decision by referee Kevin Clancy. But Morelos could really have few complaints about his fate. He should have known far better. His moment of madness was to prove highly costly.

The Ibrox club dealt with being reduced to 10 men admirably. With Ryan Jack, the former Aberdeen player, once again outstanding in central midfield, they continued to dominate and took the lead from the penalty spot. At no stage thereafter did they look in any danger of surrendering it.

But they would have had a far better chance of giving their manager a triumph in his opening Ladbrokes Premiership game if they had had somebody up front to finish off the chances they created and had not been at a numerical disadvantage.

Their failure to build on their tally allowed Aberdeen, who looked jaded as a result of their exertions against Burnley down at Turf Moor on Thursday night, to snatch an equaliser at the death. Bruce Anderson, who had come on for Sam Cosgrove in the second-half, enjoyed a dream debut in the first team when he levelled in the third minute of injury-time.

The fact that the diminutive teenager’s late effort was the first Derek McInnes’s men had managed on target all afternoon mattered little to the jubilant home supporters in the 19,046-strong crowd.

Aberdeen and Rangers are once again expected to vie for second spot in the top flight in the coming months. Their first meeting of the 2018/19 campaign suggested it will be a close contest. Both sides will certainly look to improve on their displays yesterday, but the early evidence is there is little, if anything, between the two of them.

Gerrard certainly dealt with the first major test of his reign - the ordering off of Morelos - calmly and confidently. His team switched to what effectively amounted to a 4-5-0 formation. They contained their hosts well, controlled proceedings and deserved to edge in front after half an hour.

Dominic Ball, the former Rangers loanee, hauled down Josh Windass as the winger tried to chase down the ball after Joe Lewis had denied Scott Arfield. Clancy had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. But why was Ball not so much as shown a yellow card?

Tavernier had to wait an eternity to take the penalty, but he was clearly undeterred by the long delay. The Rangers captain and right back drilled a well-taken effort beyond Lewis and into the bottom left corner.

McKenna hobbled off after his side had fallen behind and was replaced by Chris Forrester. But Aberdeen, in no small part due to the departure of Morelos, were not troubled greatly at the back. They offered virtually nothing going forward however.

A Niall McGinn cross from the left flank into the Rangers six yard area just before half-time was the sum total of their efforts in the first-half. Allan McGregor did well to tip it out for a corner as Sam Cosgrove ghosted in at the far post to meet the delivery.

Tempers frequently flared, as is invariably the case in matches between these two teams, and Devlin and Lewis Ferguson, the son of former Rangers midfielder Derek, and Forrester as well as Arfield and Connor Goldson were all booked by Clancy.

McInnes took off Stephen Gleeson, who had failed to make much of an impact, and put on Stevie May and then threw on Anderson for Cosgrove. His positive substitutions were to prove decisive.

Andrew Considine beat Tavernier to a header and Anderson pounced and fired the ball beyond the clutches of the outstretched McGregor. The youngster, who hails from Banff and is an Aberdeen supporter, will hope it is the first of many. If he can show a little more maturity than Morelos it may well be.