Two second half goals from Rangers were the difference as the young Dons went down 3-1 at Auchenhowie after the sides had each netted from the spot in the first half of an exciting clash. Aberdeen played some great football at times but were made to pay for not taking their chances.
Barry Robson stuck by the same starting eleven as began the matches against Hamilton and Dundee United while Rangers fielded their strongest team showing respect for the challenge they faced from the young Dons.
Rangers had the first effort on goal, Roberts' good build up play giving Pasnik an opening, his shot flying over. On six minutes the home side were awarded a soft looking penalty after a challenge in the box by Murray, Charlie Lindsay converting from the spot. Not the start the Dons wanted.
Aberdeen missed a golden opportunity to square things in the 11th minute, Ryan Duncan bursting clear of the home back line before squaring the ball for Liam Harvey, but the striker's shot lacked the power to beat McConnell who saved well with his legs.
Harvey looked to be clear of the last man a few minutes later, but the ball got caught under his feet and the chance went a-begging. The elusive Lindsay was proving to be a handful and came close to making it 2-0 on 17 minutes.
Aberdeen drew level on 20 minutes, Ryan Duncan netting from the spot after Harvey had been upended by Greig Allen who was booked for the challenge. That's seven league goals for Ryan so far this season.
Liam Harvey was proving to be a thorn in the flesh for Rangers and he did well to get his head on to a Timi Fatona cross but couldn't test the keeper. After a tricky opening period, Aberdeen were growing into the game nicely.
Ure tried his luck from distance, the left-footed effort lacking the accuracy needed to trouble Oluyemi as Rangers had a spell in the ascendancy. The football on display was fast and skilful, the perfect pitch aiding both teams.
Allen came close to giving Rangers the lead on 37 minutes, his attempt crashing off the bar before Oluyemi grabbed the ball. At the other end Adam Emslie fired in a low shot which was comfortably saved by McConnell.
In the dying seconds of the opening period Lindsay fired just over before Ryan Duncan came within a whisker of notching his second of the night as his shot rebounded to safety off the post. All square at the interval, probably just about right as both sides had chances in a hugely entertaining match.
Half time - Rangers 1 Aberdeen 1
Emslie again tested McConnell early in the second half, the keeper doing well to block with his feet, while at the other end Blessing Oluyemi did well to parry McKay's fierce drive away from the danger area.
Aberdeen's forwards were pressing the ball well and keeping the Rangers' defence on their toes.
On 56 minutes Rangers regained the lead, the ball being fed in from the right to Roberts who took a touch before drilling the ball past Oluyemi who had no chance with the shot. Shortly after Ryan Duncan saw yellow after a disagreement with referee Hesketh.
On 67 minutes a simple third goal for Rangers, Strachan flighting a corner to the edge of the six yard area where it was met solidly by the head of an unmarked Greig Allen. Taylor Masson came on for Fatona with Ethan Duncalf switching from left back to right back.
The sub was quickly into the action delivering a nice cross on to the head of Harvey, the striker's header going over the top.
Duncan fired a free kick wide as the Dons tried to get back into the game before Rangers threatened a fourth goal, Oluyemi saving well from Ure.
There was no lack of effort from Barry Robson's young side but the greater experience of the older Rangers outfit was being to tell as the clock ticked away for the Dons. A great ball from Dylan Lobban was picked up well by Emslie, the winger's cross-cum-shot well held by McConnell.
Then McConnell saved brilliantly to deny Harvey a deserved goal after Lobban unselfishly squared the ball to the striker, the Dons fighting right to the very end.
With seven minutes of added time played, McConnell brilliantly saved at point blank range from Duncan then Harvey slid a shot inches wide.
Ultimately, taking their two best chances in the second half won the game for Rangers but the young Dons can take great heart from a solid, determined performance. Next up is a home clash against Kilmarnock on Friday.
Full time ? Rangers 3 Aberdeen 1