Rangers 2-0 Partick Thistle
Rangers avoided making their worst start to a league campaign since 1989 as they claimed a 2-0 win over Partick Thistle at Ibrox.
The impressive Niko Kranjcar capped his best display since signing this summer as he gave Rangers the opening goal for just the third time this season.
Andy Halliday added a second moments later but Alan Archibald’s basement boys missed a golden chance just after the break when Wes Foderingham got a lucky break with Chris Erskine’s shot.
The Light Blues, though, had done enough to claim just their third win of the Ladbrokes Premiership season as they climbed to fifth.
Mark Warburton watched from the stands after being punished for his Pittodrie blast at referee John Beaton with a touchline ban – but the first half-hour was not easy viewing.
Having dropped points again last week against Aberdeen, Rangers looked nervous. The home supporters did not appear much more confident as every Jags attack drew a sharp intake of breath from the stands.
The jitters appeared well founded when Ryan Edwards was allowed space to head straight at Foderingham, with the Gers defence too busy protesting after Ade Azeez has appeared to run the ball out of play.
Thistle continued to press and probe, forcing the Light Blues into basic mistakes – but there no was no end product from the Maryhill men.
Having seen Kranjcar come up with a tame shot four minutes in, it took Gers another 23 minutes to threaten again as Danny Wilson’s deflected shot flew just wide.
And there was relief all round the Gers ranks as Kranjcar slammed them ahead after 33 minutes.
The Croatian exchanged a clever one-two with Holt as he waltzed into the box. It appeared he had hesitated too long as red and yellow strips raced to close him down but after dipping his shoulder the former Tottenham and QPR playmaker found the room to crash a right-footed shot high into the net.
With the pressure off, Gers finally looked at ease and added a second five minutes before the break. Jason Holt pounced on Danny Devine’s loose pass before feeding Martyn Waghorn. The striker drove in from the left before teeing up Halliday to sweep a low shot past Ryan Scully.
Jags knew they Ibrox anxiety would return if they could grab the next goal but were somehow denied a lifeline soon after the restart as Erskine found himself through on Foderingham.
His shot squirmed under the keeper but refused to cross the line before the Rangers number one raced back to claw away the danger.
Some fine skill from Barrie McKay should have seen Gers home and dry but Waghorn could not reach his cross, while Holt had two close calls without finding the net.
Kranjcar had been full on trickery all afternoon but bowed out with 20 minutes left out as he ran out of steam.
There was no farewell gift, though, as his last involvement was to smash a free-kick high over Scully’s bar.