RANGERS were held to a frustrating draw by Partick Thistle at Firhill this evening.
Despite leading the game 1-0 at half-time through an Alfredo Morelos strike, the Jags turned the game on its’ head courtesy of Blair Spittal and Chris Erskine before Graham Dorrans rescued a point with a stunning finish 13 minutes from time.
The game began in frenetic fashion, with both sides struggling to keep possession and very few chances being created in the opening stages.
Then 13 minutes in, Gers were dealt a major blow with captain Lee Wallace pulling up injured following an innocuous challenge from Ryan Edwards, meaning he had to be replaced by Declan John for his Light Blues debut.
The form of striker Alfredo Morelos so far this season has been simply stunning, and with pretty much his first meaningful touch, he handed Rangers the lead with 19 minutes on the clock.
Ryan Jack, pushed forward into an advanced area, robbed Blair Spittal of the ball 30-yards from goal, and he played the ball out to the right edge of the ball for Morelos.
From that angle, there was only one place he could go to score – across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner – and he measured his powerful shock to perfection to send the 5000-plus Gers fans at Firhill into delirium.
There was a further worrying moment for Gers 10 minutes before half time when Ryan Jack went in for a tackle with Edwards and came off the worst for it. Following lengthy treatment from physio Stevie Walker, Jack was fit to continue.
The visitors then possibly should have doubled their lead. James Tavernier flew down the right win and his delivery was met by the foot of Josh Windass at the back post, but his shot was well off-target.
Into the second half, and again, Pedro Caixinha’s side missed a more-than decent chance to double their lead within minutes of the restart.
Josh Windass played an outstanding 50-yard diagonal to Tavernier on the opposite wing. The full-back then picked out Daniel Candeias 10-yards from goal, but with the ball bouncing, he fired wide of goal.
As has been the case already this season, Rangers were made to pay for missed chances with Blair Spittal grabbing an equaliser for the Jags with a stunning free-kick.
Fabio Cardoso was penalised for a foul 20-yards from goal, with Spittal stepping-up and blasting the ball into the top corner, well beyond the reach of Foderingham.
On the hour mark, things got even worse for Rangers with Alan Archibald’s side taking a shock lead. Blair Spittal’s cross from the right was allowed to travel all the way to the back post, and there to tap it home was Chris Erskine.
Erskine though was soon to become the villain for Thistle as he was red carded for a shocking lunge on Morelos in the middle of the park.
Rangers huffed and puffed from that point on in an attempt to find a leveller, and finally it came from a stunning Graham Dorrans strike 13 minutes from time.
Declan John did well down the left and found Dorrans on the corner of the box. From there, he took a touch to steady himself a curled a wonderful drive into the top-right corner.
It was the boost Caixinha’s men needed, and they came close to taking the lead almost straight from kick-off as John picked out Carlos Pena in the middle, but the Mexican found the arms of goalkeeper Ryan Scully.
The cavalry charge really was on, with Windass and Morelos having decent chances for the winner, but despite incessant pressure, they couldn’t find a winner.
PARTICK THISTLE: Scully, McGinn, Keown, Devine, Elliot, Barton, Turnbull, Spittal (Bannigan, 82) Edwards, Erskine, Storey (Sammon, 80).
SUBS NOT USED: Nitriansky, Sneddon, Doolan, Lawless, McCarthy.
RANGERS: Foderingham; Tavernier, Cardoso, Alves, Wallace (John, 13); Candeias, Jack (Pena, 63), Dorrans, Windass; Miller (Herrera, 56), Morelos.
SUBS NOT USED: Alnwick, Dalcio, Holt, Wilson.
REFEREE: Willie Collum.