THE last few weeks have felt like the long goodbye for Graeme Murty. Now, there could be a hello for Derek McInnes.

The two spent another 90 minutes alongside each other at Pittodrie and the Light Blue baton could now be handed over from the interim manager to the next Ibrox boss.

If this does prove to be Murty’s final match in charge of the Gers, he certainly went out on a high with a crucial 2-1 victory. It wasn’t how McInnes would have wanted to end his Dons reign, if indeed he heads for the exit door sooner rather than later.

Read more: Graeme Murty: Rangers players showed their character in win over Aberdeen

This wasn’t as comprehensive a win for Rangers as the 3-0 victory at Ibrox in midweek, but it was another which was deserved as goals from Danny Wilson and Josh Windass took them up to second spot in the Premiership.

It was a typically feisty affair between these two rivals and Ryan Jack will have mixed memories of his return to familiar territory. He left with another red card on his record but Rangers had another three points to their credit.

There was no love lost in the stands and no ground given on the park. Now it is the boardroom relations that will be put to the test if Rangers make their move to appoint McInnes as Pedro Caixinha’s successor.

Murty took the acclaim of the travelling support at the end of the game. It was a deserved thanks for his efforts and this was a fitting way for him to bow out if it turns out to be his final afternoon at the helm.

The 43-year-old only had one decision to make as he picked a starting line-up for the sixth time of his second stint in charge. With Bruno Alves injured, the interim boss had to choose between David Bates and Fabio Cardoso, with the rest of the side remaining the same from midweek.

Read more: Chris Jack: The decision should be an easy one for Derek McInnes if Rangers come calling

It was the Scot that got the nod as he partnered Danny Wilson at the heart of the defence on his first appearance since that night in Luxembourg against Progres Niederkorn.

McInnes was more sweeping with his changes as Greg Stewart, Scott Wright and Adam Rooney came into the team, but the switches didn’t spark the Dons into action.

It was Rangers who once again started brightly. Windass had a sight of goal when he burst into the area after just five minutes but he threw himself to the ground as keeper Joe Lewis rushed from his goal.

Willie Collum rightly booked the midfielder for diving and the referee was kept busy as a tetchy affair unfolded. There was a chill in the air at Pittodrie but the action on the park simmered on several occasions as both sides looked to win the battle first and foremost.

Dons skipper Graeme Shinnie was booked for a foul on James Tavernier and two minutes later he bundled over Jason Holt. It was to prove a costly challenge.

Declan John whipped in a free-kick to the edge of the area and Wilson rose amongst the bodies to get his head on the ball. He somehow got enough power on it to send it looping over the head of Lewis and everyone in red could only watch on as it nestled into the net.

Read more: Derek McInnes: Talk over a move to Rangers has 'dragged on and dragged on'

It was just the start that Murty would have been hoping for but it wasn’t one that Rangers could build on this time as chances proved hard to come by for the visitors.

A low effort from Windass that Lewis did well to turn round his post was as close as the Gers would come to adding to their tally in the first half.

Frustrations had steadily grown in the home ranks as Aberdeen once again struggled to assert themselves as an attacking force, with Rooney spurning one of the few openings as he scooped a shot over from inside the box.

On the stroke of half-time, McInnes’ side should have been level, though. Stewart’s free-kick was fired into a dangerous area but Andrew Considine couldn’t direct his header under the bar as the ball came crashing back off the woodwork.

It was at the same end that Lewis got a strong hand to a Miller effort just after the break. Like the save he made from Windass in midweek, it kept the Dons in it at a crucial time.

The home crowd soon had something to cheer about, but it wasn’t a goal. Having booed and abused Jack throughout, they jeered and waved him off the park after Collum pulled a red card from his pocket.

Read more: Graeme Murty: Rangers players showed their character in win over Aberdeen

Jack was left incensed by the decision as he won the ball then caught Stevie May on the ankle after a strong challenge. It was firm, and Collum judged it wasn’t fair.

Order had only been restored for a couple of minutes when bedlam broke out in the away end once again. This time, it was courtesy of Windass.

Sub Daniel Candeias and Tavernier combined brilliantly down the right and Windass was in the right place at the right time as he converted from eight yards.

It was a fine move from Rangers and one that looked to have clinched the win but Frank Ross had other ideas.

Wes Foderingham was beaten by a James Maddison free-kick here last season and this effort from Ross was just as classy as he curled the ball into the top corner to give the Dons hope going into the final stages of an enthralling encounter.

The traffic was almost all one-way now as McInnes directed his side forward in search for a dramatic equaliser. An effort from Stewart brought groans of disappointment from the home end as it whistled wide of target.

Soon, it was the roar of celebration from the away end that filled the air at Pittodrie as the Light Blues marked a significant win.

The job was done for Rangers and by Murty. Time will tell if it is about to just begin for McInnes.