A DOMINANT display from Rangers Reserves saw them ease to a comfortable win over Partick Thistle at Lesser Hampden this afternoon.
Two penalties from Josh McPake, fine individual goals from Liam Burt and Matty Shiels as well as a late Dapo Mebude strike on the break ensured it was a decent afternoon’s work for Graeme Murty’s side.
After a pretty even opening nine minutes, Gers were handed the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot.
Released by a quite wonderful ball from Stephen Kelly into the left channel, Serge Atakayi, returning from his four-month injury lay-off, cut into the area and was felled by a clumsy tackle from Mouhamed Niang.
The penalty duty fell the way of Josh McPake, and he rammed the ball into the bottom-right corner, and even though ‘keeper Aaron Lennox went the right way, he had no chance of reaching it.
Kieran Wright in goal for Gers made a good save to deny Soulleymane Coullibaly at the other end when he managed to get through one-on-one after the ball took a bizarre bounce away from Aidan Wilson’s attempted clearance on the artificial surface.
Overall, however, Gers were largely in control as the half progressed, and they doubled their lead on 31 minutes through a sublime piece of play from Liam Burt.
More good play from Kelly this time released full-back Danny Finlayson down the right, and while his cross was cleared to the edge of the area, it was brought down beautifully by Burt.
He shifted the ball onto his left foot and, on the half-volley, found the back of the net with his effort coming off the inside of the right-hand post.
Nine minutes later, it was three – and yet again – what a goal!
With Thistle sat so deep after not really clearing a Burt corner, the ball eventually came out to Matty Shiels to pick the ball up on the right.
He drove into the area, and with a cluster of yellow and red shirted defenders in front of him, nutmegged one of them, danced through a gap, reclaimed the ball and found the bottom corner with an excellent finish.
The second half began in the same way as the first, with Niang making another clumsy tackle in the box – this time to bring down Burt as he tried to dart goalwards from out wide.
Again, Josh McPake took the kick, and again, his strike was totally convincing, going right with so much power this time with the ‘keeper diving the wrong way.
Thistle seldom threatened, though Couliably – once a reported £800,000 signing for Al Ahly from Kilmarnock – brought a decent save out of Kieran Wright with a dipping effort 25-yards from goal.
He did, however, have better success on 65 minutes, bundling home a looping cross to the back post from Lee Duncanson.
Burt should have restored the four-goal cushion soon afterwards, shooting wide after being played through by Palmer before with seven minutes remaining, goal number five did indeed arrive.
Thistle were loose with possession in midfield, and picking up the scraps was sub Dapo Mebude, and he ran almost the full length of the half in the clear before finishing well.
Again though, back came Thistle to make it 5-2 straight from kick-off. Danny Finlayson was unfortunate to be penalised as Jordan Kemoe collided with him inside the area, with Couiably stepping-up with a powerful penalty to round off the scoring for the day.
RANGERS: Wright; Finlayson, Wilson, Breen (Patterson, 85), Shiels; Mayo, Palmer (Dickson, 74), Kelly; Burt, McPake (Kennedy, 74), Atakayi (Mebude,74)
SUBS NOT USED: Kinnear, McKee, Maxwell.