Aberdeen stunned Rangers in their Scottish Cup last-eight replay to set up a semi-final with Celtic.
Niall McGinn fired them in front after just three minutes after intercepting Glen Kamara’s slack pass.
Connor McLennan then slotted home the second midway through the second half to earn a second victory at Ibrox for the visitors this season.
Steven Gerrard’s Rangers had nearly all the play, but Ryan Jack’s effort off the post was as close as they came.
The result means Aberdeen, who drew 1-1 with Rangers at Pittodrie to take the game to a replay, have lost just once against the Ibrox side in six meetings this season, and have knocked their rivals out of both domestic cup competitions.
Clinical visitors put Rangers to the sword
A raucous Ibrox fell silent before kick-off in memory of former Rangers and Scotland captain Eric Caldow, who died at the age of 84 eight days previously.
Make no mistake, this was a season-defining game for both sides. With a gap keeping Celtic out in front in the Scottish Premiership and with another League Cup in their trophy cabinet, the Scottish Cup represented both Rangers’ and Aberdeen’s best chance of silverware.
The visitors were unbeaten in eight away games coming into this one – seven of them victories. Their set-up and organisation has been key to that, and, in gifting them an early goal, Rangers played straight into their hands.
Kamara’s slack pass across the edge of his own box found McGinn, who ruthlessly dispatched the ball past Allan McGregor to punish the Finnish international’s sloppiness.
From that moment though, it was nearly all Rangers. Red shirts barely left their own box, but thwarted Rangers at every turn. First Dean Campbell blocked Scott Arfield’s effort then Andrew Considine flung himself to snuff out Alfredo Morelos as he pulled the trigger at close quarters.
Then, when they finally did slice Aberdeen open, Daniel Candeias scuffed his cross when all he had to do was square it to Morelos and the Colombian had a tap-in. A howl of frustration roared around Ibrox at the miss, and soon after Morelos took a tumble in the box under the attention of Considine, and he was booked for diving by referee Kevin Clancy.
The atmosphere swelled and so did the niggle on the pitch, Scott McKenna was booked for a trip on Morelos, Stevie May for a lunge on Connor Goldson and Lewis Ferguson for blocking Candeias, who himself went into the book for dissent. There were fouls aplenty.
And when former Aberdeen captain Jack’s low drive came back off a post, Gerrard’s mind must have wandered back to Easter Road last Friday night when his side failed to kill off Hibernian and ultimately drew 1-1.
Rangers responded well after the break when the sides drew at Pittodrie in the first match, and they came flying out once more, but again firing blanks.
And, as if Derek McInnes had scripted it himself, Aberdeen gave themselves breathing space to knock the stuffing out of Rangers just after the hour mark.
They had offered little, but the move was incisive and crucially, lethal. Ferguson slipped a ball inside Borna Barisic to May, who drove forward and squared to McLennan for the 19-year-old to calmly slot into the far corner. Cue bedlam in the away end.
On came Jermain Defoe and forward came Rangers again. Morelos volleyed wide and then Aberdeen came close to a third, Goldson almost deflecting May’s cross into his own net.
McKenna, Considine, Max Lowe and Dominic Ball were outstanding, and Michael Devlin came on to help repel the crosses that continued to rain into the box.
Joe Lewis saved well from Defoe and Morelos and when the English striker did put the ball in the net, it was correctly ruled out for offside.
‘Aberdeen blunted Rangers’ – analysis
Former Rangers winger Neil McCann on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound
Aberdeen have proved there is a massive amount of belief in their dressing room. Captain Graeme Shinnie is such a great influence. McInnes has shown he is very astute with his gameplan, they pretty much blunted Rangers. They looked comfortable and polished. When they went 2-0 up, I did not see Rangers getting back into the game.
The goals Aberdeen scored are not breakaway counter-attacks. Rangers did not leave themselves wide open – they were very defendable goals and that is the biggest thing that will anger Gerrard. The goals they conceded were shocking.
‘It became desperate for them’ – reaction
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: “We started the game extremely poorly, and we never got much better from there. I think everybody knows if you let Aberdeen get their noses in front, they’re a tough nut to crack and that was the case.”
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: “We had to have the concentration and determination in one-v-ones to see the job out. We defended well, and once the second goal goes in – a great move – I felt it knocked the stuffing out of Rangers and it all became a bit desperate for them.”