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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Rangers – 6th February 2018

After moving out of the bottom two spots of the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 1-1 draw against Motherwell three days prior, Partick Thistle looked to move further away from the relegation play-off position with a home fixture against Rangers. Having ended 2017 with a terrific run of home form, the Jags were still waiting for their first win in Maryhill of the new year and a victory against Rangers would be the perfect way to get it.

Alan Archibald made four changes to the side which drew at Fir Park as James Penrice came in for Mustapha Dumbuya with Callum Booth still out injured. Daniel Devine also came into the starting XI with Niall Keown suffering an injury in training. A change in formation meant that Blair Spittal returned to the first XI in place of Adam Barton as the team went from 5-3-2 to 4-2-3-1. Having missed the match against Motherwell due to a family bereavement, Conor Sammon came back into the team in place of Kris Doolan to face the Gers.

Thistle started the match at a high tempo and had two chances within the first ten minutes. First of all, Blair Spittal slotted a low pass into the box for Conor Sammon to run onto. The Irishman tried to lift a reversed shot over Wes Foderingham but the English goalkeeper was able to turn the ball behind. Sammon then had another shot on goal just a minute later as he controlled Martin Woods’ cross in the box. He held off his marker and fired goalward but missed the target with his right foot.

After a rapid start from the hosts the game died down and another chance didn’t come until the 24th minute. Sean Goss whipped a Rangers free-kick in from the Gers’ left finding the run of Russell Martin who had lost his marker. The experienced defender then tried to find the bottom corner with a headed effort but he nodded wide of the target.

Thistle got away with one as Martin had been lost by a marker, however, the Jags wouldn’t be let off when Josh Windass grabbed the game’s opener on 38 minutes. A great run from Daniel Candeias got the winger in behind young full-back James Penrice and the Rangers number 21 delivered an inch-perfect low cross into the feet of Windass. The number 11 took the shot on first time, finding the very top corner of Tomas Cerny’s goal to give the visitors the lead.

The home side did come close to drawing level once before the break as Conor Sammon hit the frame of the goal. Sammon flicked Paul McGinn’s throw-in on to Blair Spittal who had moved into the Rangers box. He went down under the challenge of Declan John but Sammon kept play alive. He hit a right footed shot towards goal which seemed destined for the net. It curled the wrong way and hit the inside of the post before bouncing away from goal. It was desperately close for Thistle but the teams went into the break with the away team leading 1-0.

The Jags had created a better quality of chance during the first 45 minutes but Rangers had taken one of two big chances that they got. Josh Windass’ clinical finish was excellent and despite Thistle’s good chances, was the difference between the sides. A continuation of the first half performance would be the best way for the Jags to drag themselves back into the game.

Alan Archibald made his first change of the game just five minutes into the second half as Chris Erskine replaced Blair Spittal.

Around ten minutes into the second half Thistle began to build some good passing play and looked to be forging a route back into the game, however, a second Rangers goal just before the hour mark killed that progress in its tracks. James Tavernier picked up the ball in the centre circle before passing it off and moving forward. He got the ball again around ten yards outside Thistle’s penalty area before proceeding to shoot. He bent a looping effort on goal which beat Tomas Cerny all ends up, clipping the underside of the bar as it flew in.

In an attempt to re-energise his attack, Alan Archibald made his second change of the evening on 71 minutes as Kris Doolan came on for Conor Sammon.

The hosts almost dragged themselves back into the game on 82 minutes through a Martin Woods corner. Woods whipped a delivery into the Rangers area from the Colin Weir Stand side of the pitch and saw it fall to Miles Storey in the box. A scramble ensued but Storey was able to poke the ball towards goal. The shot came in at close range but Foderingham was able to get down to save it.

Thistle made their final substitute as James Penrice was replaced by Mustapha Dumbuya but the change made no difference to the result as the match ended 2-0 to Rangers. The loss made no difference to Thistle league position as they remained in tenth position with a cup game against Celtic to look forward to.

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