After 142 days in lockdown, the Ibrox side got off to just the start they were looking for on their return to competitive action for the first time since March’s Europa League defeat by Bayer Leverkusen.
The visitors dominated the opening half and got their reward 21 minutes in as Kent broke clear to fire the only goal.
The second period was more of a grind but Gerrard will just be relieved to see his side avoid a repeat of their opening-day slip-up in the Granite City from two years ago as they set their sights on halting Celtic’s push for 10 in a row.
Derek McInnes’ Dons finished the game with 10 men after Andy Considine saw red four minutes from time for his reckless lunge on Scott Arfield.
Gerrard was satisfied Alfredo Morelos’ focus had not shifted away from his present employers despite heavy speculation about a potential move to Lille this week, with the Colombian trusted to start.
But George Edmundson found himself dropping to the bench as Leon Balogun came in for his Rangers debut.
A sore bash to the head after he collided with a post, it proved to be an easier introduction to Scottish football than the former Wigan centre-back may have expected, with last season’s top Dons scorer Sam Cosgrove ruled out with a knee injury.
Youngster Bruce Anderson, whose equaliser denied Gerrard a first league win as Rangers boss here in 2018, got the nod to lead the line for McInnes’ team ahead of new Leeds loanee Ryan Edmondson.
But the 21-year-old managed barely five touches of the ball in the opening 45 minutes as the Light Blues took control.
For all their possession, however, it took 21 minutes for Rangers to create the game’s first chance – but Kent made it count.
Ianis Hagi dummied a James Tavernier ball, leaving Morelos to collect. With Scott McKenna fooled by Hagi’s movement, the striker had time to turn and prod the ball on for Kent, who beat the offside trap before racing through to coolly finish past Joe Lewis.
But the goalscorer was a lucky man nine minutes later as he was stripped of possession inside his own box. Aberdeen worked the ball to Funso Ojo 20 yards out but the sting was taken out of the Belgian’s strike by a Balogun block.
Lewis pulled off another routine save from a Hagi strike before half-time but Gerrard would have been quietly content with his side’s first 45 minutes back in action.
The second half was not quite as comfortable a watch, however.
The Dons upped their work rate, forcing the visitors to rush their passes – with Hagi twice wasting opportunities to cut through.
And there was worried looks on the Rangers bench when Balogun’s face smashed into a post as he tangled with McKenna at a corner. Thankfully there was no serious damage and the Nigerian could continue.
Hagi’s deflected drive flew just wide while the Romanian was the instigator as he slid in Morelos, but the striker was frustrated as Taylor got in a vital block.
But Aberdeen’s hopes of piling the pressure on in the final stages were wrecked when Considine flew in on Arfield with studs showing, earning a straight red from referee Bobby Madden.
Steven Gerrard hailed Rangers for dealing with the pre-season pressure as they kicked off the new Scottish Premiership campaign with victory at Aberdeen.
The Ibrox side know they can afford few slip-ups this term as they look to deny bitter rivals Celtic a record breaking 10th straight league crown.
But the Light Blues held their nerve at Pittodrie to get off to a winning start.
Ryan Kent capitalised on Rangers’ first-half dominance as he streaked away 21 minutes in to score the only goal.
It was a more cagey affair after the break but Rangers refused to blink and ground out victory against a Dons side reduced to 10 late on when Andy Considine was dismissed for a crude lunge on Scott Arfield.
A delighted Gerrard, whose side now turn their attention to Thursday’s Europa League return clash with Bayer Leverkusen, said: “It’s a marker for us because all eyes were on us today in the first game.
“When the fixtures came out, everyone was saying, ‘Oh, it’s Aberdeen away, will they drop points?’
“There were questions on us today so we’ll go away pleased at picking up three points and getting a clean sheet.
“But no one will get carried away.
“Aberdeen ran us all the way to the end and we’ll dust ourselves down for Europe. But we have to build on this now.”
Alfredo Morelos was trusted to start despite the Colombian’s rumoured interest in a move to Lille.
But he played a big part in Rangers’ win as he slotted through Kent for the winner.
However, with his only other striker Jermain Defoe still out injured, Gerrard knows his side need reinforcements quickly – even if Morelos stays.
The Ibrox boss, who ruled out a move for Young Boys star Jean-Pierre Nsame, added: “I thought in the main Alfredo did a good job for us. He dropped in, overloaded the midfield area for us and listened to instructions.
“But we want him fitter and sharper. He had a couple of chances that, with more game time, he might have got on the end of and killed the game off for us.
“But it’s important Alfredo stays focused on Rangers and playing well. The Rangers fans deserve that focus – whatever happens will happen.
“We’re close on a couple of things that are brewing away but Nsame isn’t a name we should be linked with.
“There are many other names out there but I can’t control that.
“We can’t go much longer with just one fit forward. I want one in yesterday.
“I’ve got massive hopes for Ryan Kent. He has to get more numbers in his game with assists and goals.
“But he was outstanding today, he looked really dangerous and put a shift in for the team.”
Dons boss Derek McInnes was left frustrated with the defeat but absolved his defence of blame for allowing Kent to race through to score – insisting the fault lay further forward.
He explained: “People will look at my centre-backs but I don’t blame them at all.
“The press has to come further up the pitch, when James Tavernier gets the ball he must be shown down the line. We allowed that pass to come inside and as soon as that happens you are susceptible to what happened.
“If we press right, our centre-backs are expecting the ball down the channel and we would have dealt with that and not lost that goal.”