RANGERS picked up all three points at Firhill as strikes from Josh Windass and James Tavernier proved the difference.
It took the Gers time to ease themselves into the game but after Windass struck his 10th of the season on 39 minutes Graeme Murty’s side took total control of the game.
The second-half was all Rangers and Tavernier added a second with a thunderous strike just before the hour mark – that was the full-back’s sixth goal this season after scoring just two last term.
The win moved the Light Blues back within three points of second placed Aberdeen in the table and got Murty’s side back to winning ways after his side’s first defeat of 2018 on Saturday against Hibernian.
Neither side made much impact on the game until the eighth minute when Blair Spittal found Conor Sammon with a through ball and the forward found the angle to test Foderingham at his near post. The keeper was forced tp push the ball out for a corner. The resulting set piece was headed cleared by Sean Goss but only as far as Martin Woods who once again played in Sammon, this time the striker shot wide of the same upright from the six yard box.
Rangers were struggling to carve out any clear cut chances but looked lively when Tavernier cut his way through the field to push onto the edge of the box from his defensive position. The right-back laid off neatly to Daniel Candeias to his right and Baily Cargill had to jump in with a clearing challenge to block the winger’s side footed effort.
Russell Martin got the Gers as close to an opener as they’d managed on 25 minutes. Goss whipped in a free-kick from the left and the January loanee from Norwich City evaded his marker to stoop low and nod just the wrong side of the post.
The game was frankly limping along for the Light Blues but six minutes before the break Murty’s side showed a flash of class which fired them into the lead. Jason Cummings, on his first league start, spied Candeias out on the right and the Portuguese vision was even better as he played the ball in behind the Thistle defence for the onrushing Windass. The Gers number 11 took it first time and fired his strike in off the underside of the crossbar to take his goal tally into double figures for the season.
Rangers had a let off on the stroke of half-time when Sammon brushed off Declan John to drag the ball inside and fire one which looked destined to nick in off the base of the far post and over the line. Somehow though the ball bounced off the foot of the upright and back out into the penalty area with Thistle scratching their heads as to how they weren’t level and the Gers rushing to clear the loose ball.
Their goal had set a light until Rangers and they came out for the second-half looking for more. A scramble of Thistle bodies denied Rangers a second with seven minutes of the second period gone. Tavernier combined well with Jamie Murphy in tight space as they played a double of quick one-twos in the box, the second landing the 26-year-old with a chance to lift the ball over Tomas Cerny in goal but as he struck the ball was jostled away from goal.
Tavernier didn’t have to wait long for his goal though and it came in spectacular style. With 59 minutes on the clock he picked the ball up down the middle and ran at the scattering backline in front of him. As it opened up the defender needed little invitation to send a rocket of a shot into the top corner from 25 yards out.
With 15 minutes to go Jamie Murphy found himself in a similar position to Tavernier. The winger found himself central and took the shot on from outside the box and only a deflection off Danny Devine got Cerny out of a tricky save.
Wes Foderingham had found himself with very little to do in the second-half but with eight minutes to go he pulled off a great save from close range as Myles Storey attempted to get the ball over the line. The keeper and his defence were set for a clean sheet in the West End of Glasgow.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Bates, Martin, John (Halliday 45’), Holt, Goss, Murphy, Windass, Candeias (Docherty 86’), Cummings (Morelos 81’)
Subs not used: Alnwick, Cardoso, Miller, Dodoo
Goals: Windass 39’ Tavernier 59’
PARTICK THISTLE: Cerny, Cargill, Osman, Spittal (Erskine 51’), Devine, McGinn, Sammon (Doolan 72’), Edwards, Penrice (Dumbuya 88’), Woods, Storey.
Subs not used: Scully, Barton, McCarthy.