Tonight, we take on Partick Thistle in the first of our numerous Friday night matches away from home. The atmosphere at the newly-sponsored Energy Check Stadium at Firhill will be electric. Thistle will be hoping the change is the spark required to get out of their current predicament.

(Yeah, you get the picture! I can’t take credit for any of that, all goes to my mates who are far better with the puns than I’ll ever be. There were many, many more…)

Thistle have had a slow start to the season, but they’ve played a number of strong sides already. They’ve also been unlucky with regards refereeing decisions, which have potentially cost them points.


Hibernian 3 v 1 Partick Thistle
Partick Thistle 0 v 1 Celtic
St Johnstone 1 v 0 Partick Thistle
Partick Thistle 3 v 4 Aberdeen
Ross County 1 v 1 Partick Thistle

A look at the results will show that Partick haven’t been easily beaten this season in most games. This game is the first of three consecutive home matches in eight days, as Rangers face them again on Tuesday before Hearts on Saturday. The threat of Kris Doolan is well known, a player who is a real throwback to the John Robertson and Paul Wright style of strikers, a player who scores loads for a “smaller” club but never seems to get that big move. Blair Spittal has started the season well, and is also capable of scoring. Players like Keown and Barton will be looking to prove their ability to a bigger audience. Connor Sammon is one of those players in Scotland who is capable of a good game (it is rare though). Overall, Thistle have a strong, hard working team who are very well organised by Alan Archibald, a manager who will surely be in the sights of clubs with bigger resources.

With regards Rangers, it’ll be interesting to see if any changes are made. Josh Windass coming back in for Niko Kranjcar would be a good bet. There are many who hope that Pena starts in place of Miller, but I don’t believe that will happen. My predicted team is the one which started against Hearts:





We’ll be hoping that Morelos continues his goalscoring form. Candeias has been our most creative player, and will be key yet again. I believe that Dorrans will be asked to be a bit more conservative, so as to support Ryan Jack in midfield and avoid isolation. Windass will have gained confidence from his goal, which may lead to that being the first of many. If Rangers can start at a high tempo, as we’ve done in most games so far this season, we’ll at least create chances. We need to be clinical enough to score an early goal, as this game looks set to be a tricky one.

In terms of the key battles, it’s difficult to be sure of the Thistle line-up tonight. However, I’ve picked out three I expect will decide the match.


Spittal has started well for Thistle this season, with 4 goals in 6 games. He’ll be asked to keep Wallace occupied by constantly providing an option on the right, and using his pace to get in behind. Our biggest weakness defensively is when we lose the ball and teams look to counter quickly. In this regard, Spittal will be key for Thistle.

Wallace played well against Dundee, getting forward and involved in various attacks. If Windass plays wide left, he won’t need to provide the running and pace quite as much. His start to the season has been disrupted a little by injury, so he’s still finding his form.


Bannigan is a very capable midfielder, but injury has held him back in the last year or so. He’ll be asked to be the man to win the battle in midfield and will look to control the tempo of the match. Like most teams, Thistle will look to exploit the 4-4-2 Rangers play by playing 3 central midfielders. If it works, Bannigan could have a lot of time on the ball as the spare man in there.

There’s been criticism of Dorrans from some fans of late. This is due to a high expectation level. I think he’s done fine, and looked good in the Dundee match, especially when Pena came on. He’s still working his way to peak sharpness, as he had a long summer break compared to most of the squad. As mentioned above, I suspect tonight he’ll play a little deeper than he was asked to in the last game.


Sammon often plays wide for Thistle, as something of a wide target man. He’s good in the air, and works hard for the team. He’ll be seen as a sure thing to win headers consistently, so the second ball will be key. Thistle will also look to have a set piece threat, and Sammon has obvious strengths there. I’ll avoid the obvious leaping puns.

Tavernier has started the season excellently. His forward play, in particular, looks sharp as he’s linked up excellently with Candeias. If he can get forward without too much fear of being caught out, he’ll be key to our attacking play once again.

In terms of a prediction, I think tonight will be a tight game. Archibald has made noise about having a go, but he’ll be looking to mix conservative defending with quick counters when he says that. As such, I think Rangers will sneak a tight game 1-0.

What’s your predictions for tonight? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!