Rangers saw off Partick Thistle with a 2-0 win in a solid display at Firhill. Despite a slow start, there were very few moments of pressure, and both goals were excellent. There’s plenty that could have been better, but this was a promising display.
Rangers made only one change from the previous three league games by bringing in Jason Cummings for Alfredo Morelos. Kenny Miller returned to the bench, and Greg Docherty had to wait for his first start. Thistle brought Connor Sammon and Blair Spittal back into the starting line up as they looked to provide a threat up front whilst being organised at the back.
The game started off pretty slowly as Rangers struggled to get their passing going. Just as the clock was hitting 10 minutes, Thistle created the first chances of the match. Some good play from Spittal found Sammon through on the angle, but Foderingham was quickly out to block his right foot shot. From the corner, Rangers tried to clear, but the ball came back in to Sammon, and his shot on the turn went just wide.
From there, the match fell into a bit of a pattern. Rangers weren’t quite as sharp as they needed to be, and Thistle weren’t able to fashion much by way of chances. On the 25th minute, Rangers got their first real chance as a great Goss free kick was met by Russell Martin. The defender wasn’t quite able to control the header, and it went just wide.
Aside from a couple of blocked shots and moves breaking down, there wasn’t a lot to discuss until Rangers opened the scoring. Candeias done well to find Cummings with a pass from deep in his own half. The striker took a touch and played the ball in behind as the Portuguese winger continued his run. The weight of pass allowed Candeias to play a great first time cross, and Windass got himself beyond the defender to place it in the top corner with his left foot. With only six minutes left of the half, it was the first real moment of quality in the game.
Thistle almost equalised just before half time. Some poor defending from Declan John allowed the ball to get to Connor Sammon, and his shot hit the inside of the far post before bouncing clear. Such was the nature of the chance, a certain betting company posted it as a goal initially.
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Despite being ahead in the game, Rangers knew they had to be better in the second half. Seven minutes into the half, some great link-up between Murphy and Tavernier put the fullback through. It took a few defenders to get the block in and prevent a goal.
Only 8 minutes after that, Tavernier scored the second. He won the ball on the halfway line and drove forward, playing a one-two with Windass. The ball back to him was a little behind his run, but he took a great touch then lashed home a shot from around 25 yards. Rangers had been much better in the second half, and the goal was deserved.
Rangers created some further chances, and Jamie Murphy was unlucky with two of them. The first came from a great through ball by Bates which sent Murphy clear. Some pressure from a defender forced a heavy touch. However, Jason Cummings was able to beat the keeper to the ball and force a save. The ball came back to Murphy, who looked set to score, but the referee gave a free kick for the clash between Cummings and Cerny.
The second chance came from a driving run by Murphy towards the Thistle box. From a similar position to the Tavernier goal, he tried to curl in a shot, but a defender deflected it clear for a corner.
Rangers were pretty dominant in the second half, and played some nice football. The last chance of the game, though, fell to Thistle. Miles Storey tried to force the ball over the line but was denied by Foderingham.
Given the struggles Rangers have had at Firhill in earlier games this season, this was a good result. These are the sort of games and performances that have been lacking somewhat this season and hurt our consistency. Rangers will look forward to the Ayr United cup match before resuming league duty away to Hamilton.
Foderingham, Tavernier, Bates, Martin, John (Halliday 45’), Holt, Goss, Murphy, Windass, Candeias (Docherty 86’), Cummings (Morelos 81’)
Subs not used: Alnwick, Cardoso, Miller, Dodoo
Cerny, Cargill, Osman, Spittal (Erskine 51’), Devine, McGinn, Sammon (Doolan 72’), Edwards, Penrice (Dumbuya 88’), Woods, Storey.
Subs not used: Scully, Barton, McCarthy.