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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Rangers V Partick Thistle – 15th April 2017

After the securing of a top six spot on Saturday against Motherwell, Partick Thistle travelled to Ibrox to try to close the gap between the Jags and Hearts, who sit in fifth place. The Maryhill men were on an eight game unbeaten run in the league but had failed to take any points from Rangers in two attempts so far this season, losing 2-1 and 2-0 earlier in the campaign. The hosts are still chasing Aberdeen in second place, so both teams still had plenty to play for.

Alan Archibald made two changes to the side who started against Motherwell last time out. Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine dropped to the bench after a week of injury-hampered training. David Amoo and Ade Azeez replaced them in the starting line-up. Daniel Devine captained the side and interestingly, played in midfield alongside Adam Barton.

The game got off to a timid start as neither team could create anything resembling incisive play until the 17th minute when Kenny Miller was played in behind the Jags defence. The veteran striker got on the end of a lofted through ball and moved into the box but Miller took too long on the ball and saw a shot blocked and the ball cleared.

After the opening chance, opportunities began to present themselves more regularly. At 24 minutes in, Myles Beerman advanced from his left back position and found some space to shoot. Beerman’s shot took a slight deflection and skipped just wide of the post as Rangers upped their attacking threat. The resultant corner was eventually cleared but only as far as Jon Toral, who attempts a 40 yard half-volley but his shot flies off target.

Toral had another opportunity to shoot in the 29th minute. After receiving the ball, he cut past Ryan Edwards, onto his left foot, and shot at goal but the ball flew ten yards over the bar. Five minutes later, Myles Beerman had another shot on goal. The full back came forward and shot towards the far corner of Tomas Cerny’s goal. Before it got too far, Niall Keown got his head to it and turned the ball over the bar.

A minute after Beerman’s chance, Cerny was forced into a great save. A corner, taken from just in front of the away support, found Danny Wilson in the box. The Gers’ number six headed at goal but unfortunately for the centre-half, Cerny was equal to it.

With six minutes to go until half time it looked as if the game would be going into the interval without a goal but Kenny Miller changed that in the 39th minute. James Tavernier ran down the Rangers right wing and swung a deep cross towards Miller. The marksman got his head to the delivery and directed the ball back across goal, beating Tomas Cerny and making it 1-0.

Although the first half had been a very one-sided affair, Thistle almost drew level before the break. Ade Azeez received the ball on the edge of the box and slotted Ryan Edwards into the box, behind the Gers’ backline. The Australian was at a very tight angle but tried the shot anyway. His attempt flashed across goas with Wes Foderingham turning the ball away.

That’s how things stayed as the game entered the half time break. Rangers had been utterly dominant for the most part with Thistle rarely showing their class. Myles Beerman offered a threat coming forward from defence while the guile of Kenny Miller was causing the Jags defensive unit all sorts of problems.

Early in the second half, Thistle made their first change as David Amoo was replaced by Chris Erskine with Alan Archibald looking to add some more creativity to his team.

Unfortunately for the visitors, the substitution wouldn’t stop Rangers from doubling their lead. After a contentious throw-in decision, Emerson Hyndman used some quick feet and smart turns to manoeuvre through the challenges of men in red and yellow. He then laid it to Jon Toral who turned it home from close range, doubling the hosts’ lead. Immediately following the goal, Kris Doolan was brought on for Ade Azeez.

In the 62nd minute, the home side had an excellent chance to make it three. Martyn Waghorn was played through on goal with an opportunity to take a free shot. He attempted to slot it low, past Tomas Cerny but the Czech ‘stopper got down brilliantly to block, keeping the score at 2-0.

Cerny was forced into another great save with 21 minutes remaining of the regulation 90. The ball was played to Kenny Miller on the edge of the Thistle area and he tried to curl a shot home at the near post. The attempt looked destined to find the net but Tomas Cerny got a strong hand to it and turned it behind. Four minutes later, Thistle made their final substitution with Kevin Nisbet replacing Steven Lawless.

The substitute Nisbet almost got the away side back into the game with 13 minutes to go. Following some quality build-up play, the ball was lifted in towards Kevin Nisbet. The young forward took a touch and shot but couldn’t find the target from a difficult angle.

As the game entered three minutes of added time, it was clear that Thistle wouldn’t be able to salvage anything but Rangers were still on the hunt for a third and in what was the final action of the game, they almost did. An Andy Halliday shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was saved by Cerny and the rebound fell to Joe Garner. The former Preston attacker then tried to beat the ‘keeper but Cerny made another great save just before the referee blew his whistle.

It was a disappointing end to a terrific run of form for the Jags but all is not lost. With top six secured, the Maryhill men still sit just four points behind Hearts with five games to play. They also have another game against Rangers at Firhill to try to end the winless run against the Gers once again.

Thistle are next in action against Hearts at Tynecastle in a fortnight. Kick-off is at 15:00 on Saturday the 29th of April.

THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, Dumbuya, Keown, Lindsay, Elliott, Devine, Barton, Edwards, Lawless (Nisbet, 73’), Amoo (Erskine, 49’), Azeez (Doolan, 56’).

THISTLE SUBS (N/U): Ridgers, McCarthy, Lamont, McLaughlin.

RABGERS TEAM: Foderingham, Tavernier, Bates, D. Wilson, Beerman, Holt, Toral (Halliday, 84’), Hyndman, Miller, McKay (Dodoo, HT), Waghorn (Garner, 75’).

RANGERS SUBS (N/U): Alnwick, Hodson, A. Wilson, Windass.

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