(CNN) -- Manager Walter Smith and midfielder Pedro Mendes were sent off as Rangers suffered another setback in their Scottish Premier League title defense with a goalless draw at Kilmarnock, who were also reduced to 10 men on Saturday.
Walter Smith was furious after Pedro Mendes was sent off in Rangers' stalemate at Rugby Park.
Portugal international Mendes was given his marching orders for a second yellow card two minutes before halftime, and Smith followed him to the stands at Rugby Park after protesting to the referee.
Kilmarnock midfielder Manuel Pascali was also sent off for a second booking with nine minutes to play as Rangers held on for a second successive SPL stalemate, having been held 0-0 by Motherwell last weekend.
"At the time, I felt the Kilmarnock players were surrounding the referee to get Mendes sent off, but Jim Jefferies assures me that's not the case," Smith said.
"Jim says the boys just wanted the game to be played on. In this instance, I'm in the wrong with my reaction to that situation."
Kilmarnock boss Jefferies agreed that Mendes had been unlucky to be sent off.
"I thought the first one was not a booking. That was pretty harsh, although I think the second one was [a booking]," Jefferies said. "We were always worried he was going to try and even up the score.
"He [Pascali] got caught in possession. Given what he [the referee] did to Mendes, he evened up the score, and I didn't think that was a yellow card."
Mendes became the third Rangers player to be sent off this season, following defender Madjid Bougherra in the midweek Champions League draw with Stuttgart and midfielder Kevin Thomson against Hearts on August 23.
The result means that Rangers' Glasgow rivals Celtic can go top of the table with victory at home to Hearts on Sunday.
Rangers started the match with Lee McCulloch again used as a makeshift center-back in place of the suspended Bougherra, with veteran David Weir back after missing the game in Germany due to injury.
Mendes picked up his first yellow card for clipping the heels of Craig Bryson before Steven Naismith was denied at point-blank range by home goalkeeper Mark Brown.
Mendes was then ordered off for another foul on Bryson, and Smith began arguing with Kilmarnock striker Conor Sammon before being sent to the stand by referee Steve Conroy for his continued protests.
Danny Invincibile missed a great chance to break the deadlock after the break when his close-range header was blocked by Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor, and the Kilmarnock forward hooked the rebound over the crossbar.
His teammate Jamie Hamill then hit the inside of the post, but Killie could not take advantage of the extra man before Pascali left the park for a foul on Rangers midfielder Steven Davis.
In Saturday's other matches, Aberdeen beat visiting St Mirren 1-0, Motherwell won by the same score at Dundee United, Hamilton were held 0-0 at home by bottom club Falkirk and Hibernian crushed St Johnstone 3-0.