Rangers suffered their third Premiership loss in seven matches as the pressure mounted on under-fire boss Michael Beale.

Stefan Gartenmann opened the scoring late in the first half for Aberdeen before Jamie McGrath doubled the lead. Abdallah Sima pulled one back for Rangers but a Jack MacKenzie effort condemned them to a shocking defeat.

Rangers are now seven points behind Celtic after their dramatic win over Motherwell earlier in the day. More pressingly, Beale is fighting for his job as manager.

A matter of when not if for Beale?

Beale has lost the support of the support. He is now banking on whatever goodwill he has left in the boardroom as he clings to his job at Ibrox. Many made up their minds about Beale in the aftermath of the Old Firm defeat here a few weeks ago. Since then, a succession of wins has only papered over the cracks and kept Beale’s head above water. Rangers could well recover from seven points behind Celtic and win the Premiership title. But it is impossible to see how they do that with Beale in charge and this abject defeat to the Dons could well be the tipping point for the Englishman. Performances such as this are not sustainable for a side that wish to challenge for silverware. And results such as this are certainly not after another Premiership stumble so early in the campaign. This could prove to be one too many for Beale. The coming days will determine his fate but the court of public opinion has already passed judgement. The reaction at the whistle was furious as Beale found himself at the centre of the storm once again. If he survives, it will surely be a stay of execution.

Rangers get what they deserve at Ibrox

The chorus of boos and abuse that drowned out the whistle told you everything you needed to know about the opening 45 minutes. Worse was to follow. Rangers had dominated in terms of possession and shots but were behind in the only statistic that really mattered after Gartenmann’s opener. Rangers had started positively and with purpose but they ended the half with it all to do after failing to capitalise on the chances that they carved out. The Ibrox crowd have seen that movie all too often and the way it ended will not have been a surprise. Cyriel Dessers spurned a couple of opportunities and Sam Lammers – who looked bright and then fell out of the match completely – fired wide after working space for himself. A header from Sima also missed the target when he had to at least make keeper Kelle Roos work. The same could be said for the chance that fell to Jose Cifuentes. A James Tavernier cross from the right was there to be converted but the midfielder couldn’t connect from just yards out and Rangers were soon hit with the sucker punch that sparked a furious reaction. By the time Sima scored from close range, Rangers – reduced to ten men after Scott Wright collected two bookings - were in a desperate state of affairs. The forward attempted to rouse the home crowd but belief was in short supply as the clock ticked on. In the end, there was only apathy and anger from those that stayed long enough to voice their fury.

Dessers endures another appalling afternoon

The signing of Dessers will encapsulate the failed Beale era if his tenure ends sooner rather than later. Beale must have seen something in the striker to sanction a £4.5million deal but the majority of those that have watched Dessers this season don’t share that opinion or optimism. Dessers looks chronically short of confidence. Many will say that he is short of quality as well and Beale’s backing of him ahead of this fixture won’t have washed with large swathes of the support. As Beale said himself, this was a chance for him to come in and stake a claim after three goals in 12 appearances so far this term. The best openings of the first half came to him but he couldn’t add to that tally. Dessers should have broken the deadlock just minutes in, but he scooped a poor effort over the bar from the right channel. A header later in the half was a better effort that was matched with a fine save but he couldn’t hit the target from a Ridvan Yilmaz cross on the stroke of the whistle. His fortunes didn’t improve after the restart. With every loose touch or wayward pass, the moans and groans became louder and louder and a man that has been a target of the support for so long was firmly in the firing line. He was replaced by Zak Lovelace with seven minutes left. The fact that it was a switch that was greeted with applause and ironic cheers said it all.

Clean sheet run comes to an unacceptable end

All successful sides are built from the back. Over the last couple of weeks, Beale has had his defence to thank for giving Rangers the foundations as St Johnstone, Real Betis, Motherwell and Livingston have been kept at bay and the wins have been recorded. Keeper Jack Butland has been an integral part of that process. Yet he was left helpless here as the sequence ended just seven minutes before the interval in rather shambolic fashion. Leighton Clarkson’s corner from the far side evaded everyone inside the area apart from the most important man in red. Gartenmann had peeled away at the back post and found himself with all the space he needed after working his way clear of a despairing Cifuentes. The finish was accomplished by the Danish defender. Just like that, an Aberdeen side that had rarely threatened had the advantage as they capitalised and stunned Ibrox. Just eleven minutes into the second half, the Dons should have had this one wrapped up. Rangers were again susceptible from the cross ball and Bojan Miovski saw his header come back off the post from just yards out. Aberdeen didn’t have to wait long. The defending from Rangers was abject once again as they repeatedly failed to clear their lines and McGrath scored from six yards. The winner from MacKenzie was awarded after a VAR check. It only delayed the inevitable as Rangers were beaten.

Threadbare bench sums up Rangers' lack of quality

There was a time earlier in the season when it was an impossible task to predict a Rangers starting line-up given the options that Beale had within his squad. From middle to front, he was certainly not short of options and alternatives. As the weeks have gone by, those numbers have steadily dwindled and comparisons have started to be made with the situation that Giovanni van Bronckhorst found himself this time last year. That wretched luck in terms of injuries ultimately played a part in the Dutchman losing his job. Beale confirmed pre-match that Kemar Roofe was unlikely to be risked for the trip to face Aris Limassol on Thursday evening but that he could make the Premiership clash with St Mirren. The international break cannot come quickly enough for the Ibrox boss. A glance through the names on the bench laid bare his problem. It comprised of four defenders – John Souttar, Leon Balogun, Borna Barisic and Dujon Sterling – and three products from the academy as Bailey Rice, Lovelace and Cole McKinnon were named. The only recognised attacking option was Wright, a player that was heading for the exit door just weeks ago until a move to Turkey collapsed and introducing him at the break was a desperate throw of the dice. Kieran Dowell has returned to training and Nicolas Raskin is with the rehabilitation team but it will be another couple of weeks before Todd Cantwell and Danilo are back. This is a side that just cannot deal with so many absentees at one time. Beale may feel that he has been dealt a rotten hand. Time will tell just how costly it proves to be and if history will repeat itself a year on at Ibrox.