Rangers 3-1 Partick: New signings shine but club hit by injury blows
By James Black
Rangers booked their place in the Scottish League Cup semi-final with a 3-1 extra time win over Partick Thistle at Firhill.
Goals from Carlos Pena, Daniel Candeias and substitute Eduardo Herrera sealed a last-four berth on a night when the Light Blues also suffered two injury scares.
New signings Pena and Declan John caught the eye
The sides met for the second time in four days and, this time around, Thistle started off much better as they tried to get at the Rangers defence.
Rangers tried to get forward as often as possible but lacked any real penetration in the final third of the pitch.
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Loan signing John was a constant thorn in Thistle’s side as he surged forward from full-back and delivered a number of enticing balls into the box.
The Gers best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Josh Windass after Partick keeper Ryan Scully spilled Alfredo Morelos’ thunderbolt but somehow Windass could only scuff his shot and it harmlessly trickled away.
Thistle created chances of their own in the first-half, forcing a wonder save from Jak Alnwick in the Rangers goal.
Ryan Edward’s cushioned header fell perfectly for Conor Sammon but Alnwick pulled off a phenomenal one-handed save to deny the Irishman the opening goal.
Ten minutes into the second-half, Rangers got the opener after Pena grabbed his second goal for the club.
The Mexican met a Candeias corner and glanced a header in at the back post beyond the despairing Scully.
Alfredo Morelos then had an opportunity to put the game beyond reach when he capitalised on some slack defending but dragged his show inches wide of the post.
It really should have been 2-0 Rangers on 65 minutes when Candeias mugged a Partick defender before rounding Ryan Scully but somehow managed to fire his shot high into the stand with the goal at his mercy.
Pedro Caixinha’s injury worries worsened ahead of Saturday’s Old Firm with Declan John and Bruno Alves both coming off with knocks late in the second-half.
With just seconds left in normal time, Thistle’s Kris Doolan managed to find half a yard and fired Sammon’s knock-down into the roof of the net and force extra-time.
Rangers didn’t waste any time in restoring their lead once into extra time after Daniel Candeias fired the Gers back infront three minutes into the additional thirty.
Herrera put the game beyond doubt in the 99th minute when he deftly flicked the ball beyond Scully from Candeias’s cross to secure the Gers palce in Thursday’s draw.
In other Rangers team news, Chris Sutton has destroyed a midfielder for his display during Friday’s draw against Partick Thistle.