Partick Thistle 1 – 2 Rangers
Many will say it’s all about results in football. Games like the one on Sunday put paid to that. No fan has come away from that game feeling happy or having enjoyed it, despite the last-minute winner and celebrations. We were poor, and given the injuries, complete lack of confidence and limited ability in the squad, we can’t really get away with being poor against anyone.
Looking back at the live tweets on our account, we actually seemed to start ok, with Windass looking good playing a little deeper and Garner missing a great chance from a Dodoo cut-back at the near post. Thistle hadn’t even had a shot on goal when yet again, we had too many players forward for a throw-in, they hit us on the break and had some good hold-up play before getting it wide with around 20 yards of space to play in, a simple cross and Doolan was able to get across Bates and head it home. I’m of the opinion that Doolan is one of those strikers, like a John Robertson or a Paul Wright, who is just good at getting goals in Scotland for that sort of team, but the way we over-committed again was the real frustration.
After the goal, like so many games this season, we seemed to just crumble. We created next to nothing and had Foderingham to thank for not going another goal down as we watched Thistle absolutely dominate the game. It was yet another reminder that our squad as it stands will never be good enough to win games consistently, because we should have been at least two down at half time.
The second half started in a similar fashion, despite us seemingly getting closer to them and hassling them more. We reverted to a lot a of long balls, missing out midfield entirely, even if our defender had time to find an easier pass. It was horrible to watch, and didn’t yield a single shot on target – in fact, Foderingham made another good save to keep us in it – until we got our equaliser.
It’s worth pointing out that McKay wasn’t even likely to come on the park. We had went to a back three to get Tavernier and Beerman further forward, but Wilson took a knock and had to come off, forcing us to revert to the back four and change our mind on the imminent substitutions, with Halliday missing out in favour of Barjonas. With McKay making an instant impact in terms of creating chances when he came on, it’s difficult to know if we could have dragged ourselves back into it without him.
The first goal came from one of those long balls, a punt up the park by Foderingham which was brought down well by McKay. He then skinned a couple of defenders, took an extra touch to compose himself which sold another defender the dummy, and slotted it home. It was the first shot on target we’d had, and the only bit of quality we’d shown the entire game.
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That was on 82 minutes, and after that the game became very open. Thistle tried to win it, but will regret aiming those late corners into the box rather than holding it in the corner, because from a Tavernier break forward, Miller showed the second bit of quality in the game with a cracking run which ended with a ball stood up for Garner to head home, a mere four minutes into injury time.
The celebrations were understandable given the past couple of weeks. Hopefully, some players will pick up in confidence for the remaining three games, and we’ll get to see more of the likes of Barjonas or Atakayi with little left to play for.
Elsewhere in the league, Celtic beat St Johnstone 4-1, which coupled with our win means third place is all but secured. The game which has had the biggest effect though was Aberdeen’s 2-1 win away to Hearts, meaning there’s pretty much no chance we’ll catch up with Aberdeen in second. Given our next game is against Hearts, the late red card to Jamie Walker probably means they’ll be even weaker than expected at the weekend.
I had a listen to the BBC Scotland podcast on Scottish football from Sunday, for my sins, and the reaction to the Hearts defeat was pretty interesting. Allan Preston was nigh-on advocating that Hearts fans should stay away if they’re not enjoying the football under Cathro, and it seems he’s a manager on borrowed time. The notion that just buying a load of British players will be a big step towards sorting them out was certainly a point I found a bit jingoistic. That sort of feeling has hung over our appointment of Caixinha so far as well, and I suspect guys like Kris Boyd and Barry Ferguson (who seem to almost revel in us not doing well) will say similar if we get in a lot of players from abroad and don’t start the season very well.
What was your thoughts on the weekend? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk and we’ll be happy to discuss!