THE glimmer of silverware is almost non-existent for Rangers now. For the second time this season, it is Aberdeen that have ended their ambitions of a winner’s medal.

Only the Premiership remains for Steven Gerrard in his first campaign at Ibrox but those hopes exist only in the minds of the most optimistic of his supporters.

This was the game Rangers had to win if they wanted a realistic chance at a trophy this term. Having lost it, they seem destined to be left empty-handed once again.

Aberdeen may well do the same, but at least Derek McInnes’ side have a shot at glory after a 2-0 victory earned thanks to goals from Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan as they won at Ibrox for the second time this season.

A semi-final meeting with Celtic isn’t the perfect prize, but it is one the Dons will gladly accept as they look to take the step that has eluded them so often in recent years.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Rangers won't win a trophy again this season and four other things we learned from Ibrox

Rangers will need to wait some time for that particular opportunity as a campaign of many positives looks almost certain to end without any silverware to show for it.

On a night where Gerrard needed a big performance and a big result from his side, he got neither. This was another one to forget, and the most costly so far.

As the wind and the rain swirled around Ibrox long before kick-off, it was clear this wasn’t going to be one for the football purist. It was set up for a war of attrition, and both sides had to be prepared for the battle.

It was never going to be pretty, it was about being effective and both sides were aware of the consequences of defeat, in terms of their Scottish Cup ambitions and their campaigns.

Gerrard demanded a rousing showing from his players, but they shot themselves in the foot inside three minutes as Aberdeen took a lead that stunned Ibrox.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard accepts full responsibility for devastating Aberdeen defeat

Glen Kamara has been one of the Gers’ most impressive and consistent players in recent weeks as he has quickly settled into life in Light Blue following his move from Dundee. He picked quite a moment to make a rare mistake, though.

Under no pressure on the edge of his area, he played a slack pass out to the right that was pounced upon by McGinn. The Northern Irishman made sure that Kamara was suitably punished, his clinical finish leaving Allan McGregor helpless as Gerrard could only look on in disbelief.

When Aberdeen took an early lead on league duty here a few months ago, they were able to dig in and see it out as they clinched a huge Premiership victory. Their task was now the same.

Chances for them to add to their advantage were rare in the remainder of the half as McInnes’ side found themselves on the back foot, but they got to the break with the score line in their favour.

Rangers responded fairly well to their setback and quickly assumed control of possession. Every attack was greeted with a roar from Ibrox, but the moves that met a premature end were accompanied by groans of frustration.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Celtic keeper Scott Bain poised to fill void left by Rangers rival Allan McGregor in Scotland side

Those moments increased as the half went on, with each misplaced pass or overhit cross – one from Daniel Candeias on the break was especially poor and wasteful – saw anger levels rise and rise.

A free-kick from Borna Barisic that Joe Lewis gathered at the second attempt and a low Ryan Jack strike were as close as Rangers would come.

Much of the focus pre-match, once again, had been on Alfredo Morelos. Gerrard had backed the striker to keep his cool and produce when it mattered, but this wasn’t his night.

His battle with Andrew Considine was intriguing to watch and both players gave as good as they got in a physical encounter. When Morelos went down under pressure from the defender after half an hour, Ibrox appealed for a penalty.

Referee Kevin Clancy didn’t point to the spot, though. Instead, he went to his pocket and brandished the yellow card as Morelos was booked for simulation for the second time in the tie.

The ramifications of that moment mattered little there and then for Rangers and Gerrard had just one half of football to save his silverware ambitions. He couldn’t do it.

Rangers picked up where they left off in terms of their attacking intentions, but there was no upturn in the quality as they continued to struggle in the final third.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Neil Cameron: To know Albion Rovers is to love Albion Rovers

Even early in the second half, they were starting to become desperate and there was no sense that the goal was coming. When it did, it was at the wrong end for Gerrard.

The Dons had once again created little, but when they got their chance they took it to move within touching distance of Hampden.

McLennan slid the ball beyond McGregor on the angle before spinning away to celebrate with the travelling support. Both sets of fans knew how important a goal it was.

Gerrard responded by introducing Jermain Defoe and Kyle Lafferty in place of Scott Arfield and Candeias. His side weren’t short of firepower, but they were desperately short of minutes.

By the time Steven Davis was also added to those options, crucial time had elapsed and Rangers hadn’t made any inroads to their deficit. An air of acceptance had replaced the hope around the Ibrox stands.

Apart from one small red and white corner, of course. They will be back in Glasgow next month for another trip to Hampden.