Jelavic strike puts pressure on Celtic
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A stunning strike from Nikica Jelavic helped Rangers reduce the gap between themselves and Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League to two points as they edged a 1-0 win against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen had chances through Omatsone Aluko and Josh Magennis before a superb solo effort from Jelavic opened the scoring in the 21st minute when he hit an overhead kick into the top corner from the edge of the box. Chris Maguire missed a chance to equalise just after the break and Rob Milsom had an effort cleared off the line as Aberdeen dominated after the break.

The result, a carbon copy of Celtic's result away to St Johnstone on Tuesday, means Walter Smith's men trail their rivals by two points and could go top with victory against St Mirren on Saturday as the Hoops take on Rangers in the Scottish Cup.

"Aberdeen are always a difficult team for us to come up against here and that proved to be the case," Smith said. "They started a little bit better than we did and then we settled in the game and it was a fantastic goal from Jelavic. I was delighted with tonight's win. It was hard fought and it was always going to be that way but our boys have managed it again."

At Pittodrie, Rangers made just one change from Sunday's win against Hamilton with Jamie Ness coming in for Richard Foster who was ineligible to face Rangers due to the terms of his loan deal. Aberdeen had lost their previous three matches, but started strongly with Aluko missing two good chances after dangerous balls in from Magennis.

We at least deserved a point tonight and I think fair-minded fans would agree with that.
Craig Brown, Aberdeen coach

"We at least deserved a point tonight and I think fair-minded fans would agree with that," said the Aberdeen coach Craig Brown. "You've got to credit Rangers for battling on. They know how to win games and that's the way you get championships."

Magennis then tested Allan McGregor with the goalkeeper forced to dive low to his right to palm the ball round the post. A mistake from Ryan Jack presented Rangers with their first opportunity, but Sasa Papac fired his shot straight at Jamie Langfield.

Jevalic strikes
Steven Naismith then found Jelavic with a clever ball and the striker wasn't far away with his effort from 20 yards out. However, Jelavic didn't have to wait long to open the scoring with a strike that will be in running for goal of the season in the 21st minute. McGregor took a free-kick which the Croatian controlled on his chest and, with his back to goal, he smacked an overhead kick past Langfield into the top corner of the net from 18 yards.

Rangers were appealing for a penalty in the 37th minute when, after a one-two with Jelavic, Davis went down in the box under a challenge from Aluko, but referee Calum Murray waved away their claims.

Aberdeen wasted a great chance to level matters ten minutes into the second-half. A lapse in concentration in the Rangers defence allowed Maguire to race clear, but Maurice Edu did enough to put him off as he was bearing down on goal and he hooked his shot wide.

Magennis should have done better when Zander Diamond knocked on Milsom's free-kick, but he sent his header from eight yards straight to McGregor. Rangers were living dangerously and in the 74th minute a clever free-kick from Maguire saw him play in Milsom whose cutback across goal was cleared off the line by Kyle Lafferty.