Rangers put their long-running managerial saga to one side as they claimed a surprisingly one-sided 3-0 victory over Aberdeen at Ibrox.
Five weeks on from axing Pedro Caixinha they found themselves still without a boss facing up to the team managed by the leading contender for the job.
But while Derek McInnes insists he is happy to remain at Pittodrie he will be furious with the way his side opened up as James Tavernier struck twice either side of Carlos Pena’s goal.
Victory sees Gers move up to third, just three points behind the Dons – who had Ryan Christie sent off late on.
It will also help take some of the heat out of Thursday’s AGM, where Light Blues chairman Dave King will be expected to explain to angry shareholders why a replacement for Caixinha has still not been found so long after the Portuguese boss’ sacking.
Bruno Alves and Pena had not been seen in a Gers kit for a month but both were back in caretaker boss Graeme Murty’s line-up, while Ryan Jack started against his old side.
And it was clear from the first 30 seconds the hosts were out to repay their fans after back-to-back defeats to Hamilton and Dundee as Josh Windass came within a whisker of turning home a low Tavernier cross.
But their ravenous hunger was fed seven minutes later with the penalty opener.
Greg Tansey should have sent the ball into orbit when it dropped on top of him inside the box but instead his clumsy swing clattered into Jason Holt and referee Andrew Dallas immediately pointed to the spot.
Tavernier stepped up and slotted the ball down the middle to the massive delight of the home support.
They were off their feet again on 24 minutes when Ross McCrorie sent Windass galloping through on goal but the offside flag was already up by the time the Englishman netted.
But there was no stopping the celebrations three minutes later as Pena did grab the second.
Kenny Miller and Tavernier combined on halfway before releasing Holt down the right. The midfielder did brilliantly to pick out the Mexican who calmly swept home his fifth goal in 10 games.
McInnes knew he had to change things up and acted two minutes before the break as he sent on Gary Mackay-Steven for Tansey. The switch almost paid off within 30 seconds as the wideman raced into the box but pulled his shot after being tugged back by Tavernier.
The former Celtic man screamed for a penalty but all Dallas gave him was a booking for his angry outburst.
While the first half had been a thrill-a-minute affair, the second period was a slow burner.
But the Rangers faithful enjoyed it all the same as Tavernier stroked home the clincher with 20 minutes left as he drifted onto Windass’ low cross from the right before steering past Joe Lewis.
And things only got worse for Aberdeen when on-loan Celtic playmaker Christie collected his second booking with six minutes remaining for a foul on McCrorie.