Aberdeen Under 18's recent slump of form continued at the Rangers Training Ground on Tuesday night, with three second half goals sentencing them to another defeat. An even first forty five minutes saw chances at both ends, but after the break it was home side who were more clinical in front of goal.
It had been a difficult period for the Young Dons ahead of the clash in Glasgow, losing three games on the bounce for the first time this season.
Scott Anderson was left to make just the one enforced change to the team that lost to Hamilton on Friday; the suspended Cammy Wilson dropped out, making room for Alfie Bavidge to return upfront alongside Lewis Pirie. Rodrigo Vitols retained his place in goal.
Aberdeen came out the traps looking sharp, their first venture forward won an early corner, but it was cleared comfortably. Two quick moves soon after saw Findlay Marshall and Pirie both have shots blocked.
Rangers hit back with chances of their own, Cameron Cooper passed up on a great chance shooting past the far post. Vitols, who earlier in the half was able to shake off an injury after lengthy treatment, was called into action but saved well.
Back up the other end of the park Marshall had a chance to volley from close range at the back post, Alfie Stewart's ball was on a plate for the Dons midfielder, but he couldn't get his effort on target.
Despite the half seeing no goals there was chances aplenty for both sides, Vitols tipped Tyler Pasnik's goal bound effort over the bar. Rangers had two more chances before the end of the half: Pasnik again involved but this time he was unable to hit the target. Kerr Robertson fired just over the bar from the edge of the box.
In what was a quiet half by his regular standards Bavidge showed a glimpse of what he's capable off, latching onto a through ball from Adam Emslie and blitzing Rangers' Kristian Webster for pace as he darted into the box, but his shot could only hit the side netting.
Half time Rangers 0 Aberdeen 0.
Aberdeen started the second half positively, Emslie rattled a shot off the crossbar and saw another effort roll wide, but it wasn't soon before they were made to pay for the collection of missed chances.
Rangers took the lead through Archie Stevens; his effort was well placed and across the helpless Vitols.
Just two minutes later things went from bad to worse for the Young Dons as Vitols was adjusted to haul down the Rangers centre forward as they both competed for the ball. Aberdeen's protests were swiftly dismissed, Findlay Curtis stepped up and sent the young keeper the wrong way. After an hour played, Rangers 2, Aberdeen 0.
The two goals in quick succession appeared to knock the wind out of Aberdeen's sails with quality chances then coming at a premium. Stewart swung a selection of corners into the Rangers' box, which were comfortably dealt with.
Fletcher Boyd was the only change for Aberdeen with two minutes of regulation time to go, Lewis Pirie coming off.
As the clash began to wind down to a close Curtis added a second to his tally and a third for the hosts, clattering the ball off the post and into the opposite corner of the goal.
In the end a disappointing second half performance from the Young Dons in Glasgow which sees them head back North with nothing.The players, who have done so well for much of the long campaign, just seem to be running out of steam at the final hurdle.
Munn, Hutton, Scott, Grant, Webster, Robertson, Nsio, Curtis, Cooper, Pasnik, Stevens
Unused Substitutes: Mckay, Wyllie, Adamson, Mulindwa, Willox, Roberts, Halliwell
Aberdeen Teamsheet Vitols
.Unused Subs: Smilie, Kondolo, Oluyemi, Mercer, Murray, Fatona.Bookings: Marshall
Venue: Rangers FC Training Ground, Glasgow
Referee: Gary Kirkwood