Rangers looked to build on last weekend’s win over Aberdeen as they welcomed Partick Thistle to Ibrox as the Gers looked to close the gap on second place. The Jags made the short journey over the Clyde in good form, having only lost once in their last 10 fixtures in all competitions, and off the back of securing a place in the top six of the Scottish Premiership.
Pedro Caixinha made one change to the side who defeated Aberdeen at Pittodrie as Joe Garner dropped out for Barrie McKay while Joe Dodoo, who made a huge impact as a sub in the Granite City, had to settle for a seat on the bench.
The best early chance fell to the hosts when Barrie McKay’s exquisite cross-field pass found Miller but the veteran forward’s touch took the ball away from goal as he was unmarked in the box but allowed the Partick defence to get back in numbers to clear the danger.
Myles Beerman then showed some of the attacking intent which has earned widespread praise since moving north from Man City when he drove from deep before creating a shooting opportunity for himself however his attempt went wide of the post. The young left-back has barely put a foot out of place since his promotion to the first team and has shown the same desire to push forward and create chances that won him regular plaudits in the SPFL Development League.
Just a few minutes later Beerman, again, almost got his first senior goal when he had a strike from distance was headed over the bar by Keown when it looked destined for the top corner.
Rangers really stepped up the hunt for an opener as the first half ticked away. Jon Toral saw a half-volley cleared off the line by Dumbuya before Danny Wilson forceda fantastic reaction save from Cerny with a close-range header at the Partick keeper’s near-post.
Pedro Caixinha’s side finally got their reward through Kenny Miller when he headed a delightful James Tavernier cross into the net in the 39th minute. Hyndman’s perfectly-weighted pass released Tavernier down the Sandy Jardine stand side, giving the right-back time to pick out Miller with a pin-point cross.
After the break Rangers grabbed a quick second through Arsenal loanee Jon Toral. A quick one-two with Emerson Hyndman, followed by some masterful close control by the American, found both clear in the Thistle area where Hyndman unselfishly played the ball to Toral to coolly slot home with his left foot and double Rangers’ advantage.
Martyn Waghorn almost got his name on the scoresheet when Toral picked out the ex-Sunderland striker’s run but Cerny managed to get down really well and touch his shot around the post and keep a glimmer of hope of salvaging something from the game for Thistle.
Cerny kept his team alive with a good low save from Miller, Toral showed great footwork to make space for a pass and Miller maybe could have played in Dodoo but his effort was well-placed and Cerny done well to keep it out low to his left.
Thistle had their best chance of the game with just over ten minutes left when young substitute Kevin Nisbet done well to find a yard of space from David Bates but he could only fire into the side of the goal.
Despite a slow start Rangers were comfortable throughout against Alan Archibald’s side. Pedro Caixinha has quickly turned a side who looked vulnerable defensively into one that, even with two rookie defenders, looks much more assured on the back foot. With two Old Firm derbies on the horizon, and the chase for second place still just about alive, Caixinha must surely have given cause for optimism to even his most ardent doubters.
Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Bates, Wilson, Beerman, Holt, Toral (Halliday 83’), McKay (Dodoo 46’), Hyndman, Miller, Waghorn (Garner 75’)
Subs: Alnwick, Windass, Hodson, A. Wilson
Goals: Miller 39’, Toral 54’
Partick: Cerny, Dumbuya, Keown, Lindsay, Elliot, Devine, Barton, Amoo (Erskine 49’), Edwards, Lawless (Nisbet 73’), Azeez (Doolan 56’)
Subs: Ridgers, , Erskine, McLaughlin, , McCarthy, Lamont