Rangers continued to dominate possession after the restart but without much purpose, Thistle managed to withstand the weak attacks for the first 15 minutes until Aidan Fitzpatrick picked the ball up for Partick. Fitzpatrick dribbled down the right flank and sent an early cross into the danger zone. Dylan Tait was their only representative in the 18-yard box but found himself scoring after the Rangers ‘keeper Nicky Hogarth completely misread the trajectory of the ball and dropped it right on to the head of Tait who gleefully nodded home. Game on.
The Rangers manager was cursing his luck on the sidelines as he knew his team should have been out of sight after their dominant first half. He willed his players forward to reignite their lead but three strong saves from Luke Scullion kept the score level. The first came from John Balde who collected the ball after a defensive mix-up high up the pitch, but Scullion was quick off his line to thwart the attack. The second was set up by Zac Butterworth as his intelligent dummy from a drilled cross to the edge of the box allowed the goalscorer Ciarin Dickson to try and claim his second, but his powerful shot was tipped over the bar. The last of this triple attack saw Kai Kennedy, who had been electric all match, cut inside from the left, leaving Bradley Renfrew in his wake, and try a shot low to the near post but once again Scullion stood strong.
Thistle were under a lot of pressure and no one saw this more than Bradley Renfrew. The right back seized his opportunity when Kennedy and substitute Kieran McKechnie got in each other’s way in the middle of the park. Renfrew picked up the ball and played an inch perfect pass down the right to the byline for Adedapo Mebude to chase. The striker drilled the ball to the near post and Jay Mack scored to give Thistle the lead against the run of play.
This set up a classic nervy final 10 minutes as Rangers piled players forward in an attempt to grab a point from the game. Partick Thistle were quite happy to have 11 men behind the ball and withstand the pressure. Space was sparse in the final third and as a result every Rangers opportunity was rushed and forced with little in the way of build up. Kyle McClelland, Lewis Budinaukas and Mebude all had shots from the edge of the box but none hit the target.
The Thistle defending was gritty and last ditch but they were put even more under the cosh when Jordan Kemoe got sent off for squaring up to Rangers’ McClelland seconds before the end. The whistle was finally blown when Ben Williamson’s effort struck Scullion’s left post and went out much to the visible relief of the 17-year-old.
This game could have gone very differently had it been a more clinical Rangers playing today but credit must be given to Partick Thistle who hung on for basically the entire match.