Aberdeen teenager Bruce Anderson scored in stoppage-time to deny Steven Gerrard’s 10-man Rangers a winning start to their Scottish Premiership campaign.
Rangers played 80 minutes with 10 men after Alfredo Morelos was dismissed for an off-the-ball kick at Scott McKenna.
Despite that, James Tavernier gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot after Dominic Ball fouled Josh Windass.
But Anderson, making his Dons debut, struck late into time added on.
The 19-year-old took an accomplished touch and skidded a finish low past Allan McGregor three minutes into added time.
It was an unlikely equaliser, given Aberdeen took 75 minutes to have a shot on goal.
Derek McInnes’ side had looked lethargic, having taken Burnley to extra time before going out of the Europa League on Thursday, but did enough to start the term with a draw.
Rangers enjoy better chances
The visitors – who went through in Europe against Osijek on the same night – had started on the front foot. But after Morelos’ kicked out at McKenna – reacting angrily to a shove from the Scotland defender – they were up against it.
While composure had deserted Morelos, his team-mates stayed cool under pressure, continuing to dominate possession.
Gerrard elected to stick with what he had, taking the game to their hosts, and he got his reward when Tavernier slammed home the opener from the penalty spot.
The Rangers manager had said he was “jealous” of Ryan Jack’s Europa League performance against Croatians Osijek on Thursday, and the midfielder was again pulling the strings against his former club, his workmanlike performance making up for the one-man deficit.
Blue shirts swarmed all over Aberdeen when they crossed the halfway line, and as the home side struggled to cope, Rangers continued to create the better chances. Windass headed over and Lassana Coulibaly stretched the defence on the counter-attack, only to see his shot blocked.
Tavernier’s cross found Jamie Murphy, who headed wide, but as the game wore on Rangers naturally feel deeper, spending the majority of the last 20 minutes defending the high balls Aberdeen threw at them.
Anderson is Aberdeen’s unlikely hero
In the absence of Shay Logan and Tommie Hoban, Aberdeen were forced to move Ball to right-back – a position he last occupied in a torrid 90 minutes against Motherwell in April’s Scottish Cup semi-final, a match lost 3-0.
The Englishman’s first lapse allowed Murphy to beat the offside trap and bear down on Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis, who spared his team-mate’s blushes by blocking the shot.
After Morelos’ red card, the Dons had the advantage, but they gave that away when they conceded a penalty. Ball was again at fault, tugging the shirt of Windass after Scott Arfield’s shot was deflected.
It was not much better for Aberdeen at the other end of the pitch. Their first-half attacking threat was sporadic, though twice Niall McGinn delivered crosses from the left that caused problems. Each time there was no end product, which underpinned how urgent Derek McInnes’ search for a new striker is.
McInnes was struggling to ask questions of Rangers, reshuffling his line-up as the match went on. Having started with Ball and Andrew Considine in the full-back roles, he moved things around when centre-back McKenna limped off, switching Graeme Shinnie to left-back. The manager then changed it again, returning his captain to midfield and going three at the back. Nothing seemed to work as Rangers continued to threaten.
His last throw of the dice was to replace Sam Cosgrove with 19-year-old Anderson for his debut. The teenager sent a header wide in 75 minutes – Aberdeen’s first attempt at goal.
Gary Mackay-Steven grew into the game and became the hosts’ main threat, but still Rangers goalkeeper McGregor had little to do except watch Lewis Ferguson head past a post.
However, just as it looked like Rangers would comfortably see the game out, Considine headed down into the path of Anderson, who fired low into the far corner.