RANGERS moved into third position in their Reserve League Cup group with a deserved 2-0 win over Partick Thistle at Murray Park.

Goals either side of the break from Luca Gasparotto and Charlie Telfer gave them all three points at the end of a commanding performance.

Gers now sit on seven points in the West Section, two behind Annan and Airdrie who have both played three games more.

With each of the teams below them having played at least the same number of matches too, the Light Blues are in a strong position.

The toptwo sides will progress to the semi-finals and the reigning league champions are looking good for grabbing one of the qualification spots.

This was Billy Kirkwood’s first game in caretaker charge of the reserves after coach Tommy Wilson left for the USA last month.

And his task wasn’t made easy by the fact he had both a young squad to choose from and driving rain to contend with.

Nevertheless, seven of the starting line-up had featured for the first team this season and five of them had made debuts in last week’s 2-0 friendly win over Linfield.

Chris Hegarty also started as he got some match practice after a two-game suspension while Kal Naismith began on the left side of midfield.

This was actually Partick’s home game but it had been reversed and because of the wet weather, the match was moved on to the artificial park at Auchenhowie.

That allowed for plenty of zip in the home side’s passing and Gers knocked the ball about well without creating any clear openings at first.

When they did catch sight of goal, they went ahead with their first chance of the match and it was a well-worked strike.

Andy Murdoch was fouled 25 yards from goal and Stuart Urquhart, back at the club after three starts on loan at Dumbarton recently, swung in the free kick with his left foot.

It was a cracking delivery and Gasparotto stooped well to divert a fine header into the net off the foot of the keeper’s near post with 11 minutes gone.

Danny Stoney very nearly doubled the lead moments later when he was played in on goal with only the keeper to beat.

But just when it seemed he would poke home after making a good impression as a substitute against Clyde in the Third Division at the weekend, he put the ball wide instead.

Rangers were the dominant team in a relatively one-sided first period and Urquhart brought out a good save from the keeper as he powered into the box.

Stoney also made something for himself when he took advantage of a defensive mistake but raced in on goal only to find his drive palmed away once more.

He soon turned provider instead for Ryan Sinnamon as he charged in from the right but although his shot was on target, it was held too.

And although Stoney finally found a way past the last man on the stroke of half-time, he steered beyond the woodwork too so it remained 1-0 at the break.

Gers lacked the same tempo after the restart and Partick made it a more even contest as they came forward a bit more.

Even so, Naismith’s shot was deflected towards goal off an arm and nearly went in but the referee waved claims for a penalty away.

Stoney was released once again as well as he broke the offside trap but this time his lob drifted away from the mark.

And substitute Travis Gregory did well to cut in from the left and shoot but his effort flashed across goal and away.

Naismith had a great chance to put the game beyond doubt but somehow fired over from a couple of yards with the keeper beaten and the goal at his mercy.

Gers weren’t to be denied their win though and the industrious Telfer made sure of it with a drilled finish seven minutes from the end after a corner wasn’t cleared properly.

RANGERS: Kelly; Halkett, Hegarty, Gasparotto, Clarke; Urquhart; Sinnamon (Ramsay), Telfer, Murdoch, Naismith; Stoney (Gregory).

SUBS NOT USED: Smith, Wilson, Gibson.

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