Let’s have a look at the talking points from last night’s game against Partick Thistle.

With it being his first start, there was a lot of focus on the Carlos Pena performance. After all the rumours, and the seemingly long wait to get him into the side, it was understandable that he would be discussed in detail. for me, he played ok, showing some good signs along with some things he needs to improve. He wasn’t outstanding, but he certainly wasn’t poor. The fact Alan Archibald identified him as a threat they had to change things for was a good sign.

There were touches, passes, and moments of movement which showed why Caixinha considers him a good player. A lot more will be required to justify his fee in the minds of many. What we shouldn’t do, though, is be unfair with judgements, or deem someone as rubbish if they don’t happen to be excellent. There was plenty to be positive about, and just as much to point to as needing improvement.

The interview after the match with Graham Dorrans was interesting. The extra time showing had been good, and you would have expected the players to be happy. Dorrans, however, was scathing of our performance during the 90 minutes and looked positively annoyed. If our players are able to assess a game in this manner, even in the heat of the moment, that’s something to be very positive about. Too often in football, players and managers just point to results as a defence of their performance. It’s good to see that our team doesn’t take the easy option.

A lot of the fan criticism last night seemed, to me, to forget how cup ties can go. For the bigger team away from home, it’s often the case that it has to be a hard-fought victory. Thistle had a number of forwards on the park by the end of the game, and played with no fear of losing another goal or the likes. It’s something that you can expect in a cup match, and I felt we dealt with well for the most part. There was also a real showing of character in turning things around so quickly in extra time.

After the game, Alan Archibald mentioned the comments by Caixinha in the press conference. He felt that our manager had influenced the referee by stating that teams play more aggressively against Rangers. There’s a debate to be had if the referee was in any way swayed, but I do believe Pedro was correct in his assessment. When you look at what he said, he wasn’t even being critical of other teams. He simply stated that it seems to happen a lot and we have to deal with it.

Many will simply attribute this to a hatred of Rangers, or teams not trying as hard against anyone else. I’m not sure it’s as easy as that. For a while now, we’ve been as a soft touch, a team you can bully out of a game. I think teams have taken this attitude with them into this season, and we’ll get a better indication of how they felt it worked in future fixtures against them. Either way, it’s good that we’re aware of it, and I’m sure the players will work hard to address that challenge.

In my opinion, last night was good overall, with plenty to work on. We’ve got another trip to Hampden to look forward to, and hopefully this time we can make the final. If the injuries to Alves and John don’t affect us for the weekend, it’s job done.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on last night, tweet us @rangersnewsuk and we’ll be happy to discuss!