DEREK McINNES hailed his Aberdeen players as they recovered from their Hampden heartache to overcome Rangers 1-0 at Ibrox last night.
The Dons were dumped by Celtic in the Betfred League Cup Final on Sunday when a Ryan Christie goal separated the teams.
McInnes’ men made their second trip to Glasgow in three days to face Steven Gerrard’s side that went to the top of the Premiership at the weekend with their 2-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle.
The Pittodrie gaffer saw striker Sam Cosgrove sent off in the first-half after he had collected two yellow cards from referee Steven McLean.
Scott McKenna had earlier given the Pittodrie outfit the advantage in the seventh minute when he crashed home an unstoppable close-range drive.
And Gerrard, who suffered his first home loss since becoming the Gers boss in the summer, was left seething when Alfredo Morelos became the club’s EIGHTH red card of the season when he was dismissed early in the second-half.
The Colombian, who was already on a booking, clashed with Graeme Shinnie and left the Dons skipper writhing on the turf as the match official ordered him off.
GOAL HERO…Aberdeen’s Ibrox matchwinner Scott McKenna.
McInnes said: “We had to pick ourselves off the floor after Sunday, but I was pleased with a lot of the aspects of the game.
“We spoke beforehand to the players about not just being a Cup team. We’ve prided ourselves on our league form and with a couple of games in hand, we wanted to see the importance of the points in December.
“The first three came at Ibrox and we got a lot of things right. It was similar to the game at Pittodrie – they went down to 10 men and had Morelos sent off, but they had something to hold on to. Thankfully, we managed to get an equaliser that day and, thankfully, Rangers didn’t last night.
“We defended from the front and there was a real responsibility from my players. Rangers threw everything at us – they’ve not always had Morelos and Lafferty available for certain games this season and I wasn’t surprised when I heard Lafferty was coming on at half-time. It gave us another problem to deal with.
“It’s a real shot in the arm when you see the players put so much in. We’ve got four defenders available, but they know their jobs. Their defended brilliantly and their was tenacity all over the pitch. We got our just rewards.”