FOR the second week running Rangers snatched a win in the last minute of the game as substitute Joe Dodoo proved the difference in Glasgow’s West End.
It was an end to end affair and culminated in a thrilling finale at Firhill. Both sides had a hatful of chances but it took until the 75 minute for Kris Doolan to open the scoring for Thistle. Dodoo cancelled that out within five minutes with a wonderful strike.
The summer signing’s brace was rounded off in the 94th minute of the match, a perfectly poised finish to end an entertaining afternoon of football and send the Light Blue second in the table.
It was Thistle who shone in the first-half though and they nearly took first blood with eight minutes gone when Chris Erskine should have scored. The ball found its way to David Amoo on the edge of the area and he lashed a shot at Wes Foderingham who could only parry into Erskine’s path. The Gers keeper was wrong footed after his original save and the striker had the net at his mercy but he sent his strike straight into Rob Kiernan and the ball bounced out for a corner.
Six minutes later Doolan should have done better one-on-one with Foderingham. The forward cut in on a tight angle to try and sneak in at the near post but he took too many touches and invited Kiernan in. The defender did enough to put him off and Doolan missed with another follow up shot. Partick had started as the better team.
It took until the 23rd minute for Rangers to create an attempt on target and Kenny Miller’s reaction proved he knew he should have been celebrating an opener. Josh Windass took a short corner to James Tavernier and the full-back’s in swinging cross creeped its way into the six yard box. Miller was there lurking and Thortsten Stuckmann did very well to save as the striker nodded downwards metres from goal.
Moments later Lee Wallace got to the by-line to send a ball whizzing into the near post where Jason Holt was sliding in. The diminutive midfielder got a connection but the Jags keeper managed to claw the ball away.
On 29 minutes the home side were causing problems again when the Gers didn’t deal with a corner from the left. The ball bounced around the box before Erskine was threaded in and he unleashed a powerful strike at Foderingham who had to be at full stretch to save.
Nine minutes before the break the bank of Light Blues fans in the Jackie Husband Stand were crying for a penalty when Harry Forrester went down darting into the box. Nick Walsh’s decision to wave the Gers cries away were corrected though as Adam Barton’s tackle was inch perfect to rob the Rangers number 15 of the ball in the left hand corner of the area.
Rangers’ last chance before the whistle sounded for half-time saw Mark Warburton’s side act quickly from a free-kick to get the ball to Wallace on the far left. The Gers captain needed no invitation to play a dangerous ball in and Garner was there ready to pounce. The 28-year-old attempted to turn on a sixpence but Barton read the situation well and the striker couldn’t get enough on his shot to make an impact.
Rangers came out of the traps with intent and looked like they wanted to put the wrongs of the first-half right. Windass made way for Barrie McKay at the break.
Within moments of the second period getting started Forrester was tearing down the right channel and crying for a spot-kick. Abdul Osman’s clipped his heels as the 25-year-old bore down on goal and Forrester was upended falling face first into the turf. The referee hesitated to make his decision but chose to wave it away in the end.
But by 54 minutes Thistle had created two great chances in a row. Erskine gave a short ball to Elliott who took a touch to cut inside and send a low shot at Foderingham, he palmed it away. The ball found its way further up field but a mistake by Miller allowed Erskine and Partick in again and the Gers Number One has to scramble to tip that chance around the upright.
Halliday had a shot at goal pawed away by Stuckmann after McKay played him in down the right. Garner was waiting in the middle to tap a cross home had he chose that option. Then the Gers went close again when Holt dragged a ball back into the path of Miller 20 yards out. The 36-year-old’s shot was always rising though and cleared the cross bar with some distance.
On the hour mark Forrester sprung the offside trap down the right to dart into the box and find himself with just the keeper to beat. He must have felt the Partick defence breathing down his neck and took a couple of extra touches before electing to dink the ball over the keeper. Stuckmann got a good hand to it. Rangers’ match winner from last weekend was looking dangerous in the second period.
On as a substitute Dodoo was handed a huge change to get Rangers ahead with 25 minutes left to play. Thistle’s clearance cannoned off Holt and was deflected into Dodoo’s path in yards of space just outside the box. He weighed his options up before choosing to send a low drive at goal. It was a little too central to creep in where Stuckmann had left space to his left and the keeper dived to get a palm to it.
Rangers were really applying the pressure and Wallace shot over moments later after some unselfish work from Miller. He laid a ball back to the left-back who had taken up position centrally but he fired over with the Jags backline bearing down on him.
Despite that pressure Doolan put Thistle ahead with 15 minutes to play. Steven Lawless had been on the pitch less than a minute when he slowed play to swing a cross into the six yard box from the right. Doolan headed out to Elliott on the by-line and he gave it right back to the striker. Rangers failed to deal with the ball and the goalscorer had two chances to nod home, his second was the killer blow.
It could have been two a couple of minutes later when Ryan Edwards found space 30 yards out and from nowhere sent a rocket of a shot towards Foderingham’s goal. It was always dipping and the Gers keeper had to track back to try and get finger tips to the ball, which eventually clipped the crossbar.
Ten minutes from time Rangers snatched one back through Dodoo with a superb strike. The former Leicester man collected a perfect looping cross from Miller from one side of the box to the other. The 21-year-old took it first time and lashed the ball home with the inside of his right foot.
And in the final minute of the game Dodoo won it for the Gers. Miller drove at the Jags defence to pull them out of position before laying the ball off to the striker to his left. Dodoo skipped a few yards forward before driving the ball low into the far corner to finish in calm style. Seconds later the final whistle blew.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Wilson, Kiernan, Wallace; Halliday, Holt, Windass (McKay 45’); Miller, Garner (Dodoo 60’), Forrester (O’Halloran 74’)
Subs not used: Gilks, Hodson, Senderos, Waghorn
Goals: Dodoo 80’ 94’
Yellows: Garner 44’, O’Halloran 89’, Wallace 91’
PARTICK THISTLE: Stuckmann, Booth, Welsh (Azeez 82’), Lindsay, Osman, Amoo (Lawless 74’), Doolan, Erskine (Edwards 69’), Barton, Elliott, Gordon
Subs not used: Cerny , Devine, Wilson, McDaid
Goals: Doolan 75’
Yellows: Elliott 39’