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Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Sunday, 13 April 2008 16:49 UK

Partick Thistle 0-2 Rangers

By Colin Moffat

Nacho Novo opened the scoring for Rangers at Firhill
Novo opened the scoring for Rangers at Firhill

Rangers set up a Scottish Cup semi-final meeting with St Johnstone with a replay win at Firhill.

Nacho Novo slid in to fire the visitors ahead and Chris Burke added a close range header before half time.

Partick Thistle squandered a great early chance when Marc Twaddle failed to find an empty net from 20 yards out.

Jags midfielder Simon Donnelly missed a penalty then hit the crossbar, while Rangers also missed from the spot - Jonny Tuffey saving from Daniel Cousin.

Left-back Steven Smith started his first game in 16 months and was one of seven changes in the Rangers line-up.

However, Walter Smith's side was still packed with top flight experience, although they had to work hard against determined opponents.

Despite the dreadful condition of the pitch, both sides endeavoured to pass the ball on the deck and there were early chances at either end.

A neat move from the Jags opened up the visiting defence and Allan McGregor had to race out and block bravely at the feet of David Rowson.

The loose ball ran to Twaddle but the full-back lacked composure and thrashed his shot wide of the unguarded net.

Tuffey then made a flying save to tip away Kevin Thomson's curling free kick and the Thistle keeper had to clutch a Christian Dailly header from the resulting corner.

Tuffey gathered a sharp shot on the turn from Kris Boyd and was relieved to see Steven Naismith send a tame header straight at him as the Rangers midfielder stole in at the back post.

Rangers were stepping up the pressure and they were rewarded on 27 minutes when Burke raced into the penalty area and squared for Novo to slide the ball home from close range.

Naismith again squandered a good headed chance before McGregor had to get down smartly to block a drilled effort from Donnelly.


Rangers raced straight up the park and extended their lead with Burke nodding in from inside the six yard box after Boyd had headed Novo's deep cross into his path.

Tuffey made an impressive one-handed save to keep out a Boyd header and the misfiring Naismith blazed over the top as Rangers continued to pick holes in the Jags defence.

Ian McCall's team were handed a lifeline two minutes after the interval when Mark Roberts was tripped by David Weir to win a penalty.

However, Donnelly pulled his spot-kick wide and the same player cracked the crossbar with a shot on the hour, with just McGregor to beat.

The home side were putting up a good fight and Scott Chaplain twice shot wide from promising positions inside the penalty box.

Rangers were awarded a late penalty when Kevin McKinlay tugged at Burke but Tuffey saved Cousin's casual spot-kick.

Partick Thistle: Tuffey, Storey (Murray 86), Donnelly (McKinlay 64), John Robertson, Twaddle, Chaplain, Rowson, Gray, Roberts (Keegan 88), Harkins. Subs Not Used: Hinchcliffe, Kinniburgh.

Booked: Storey, Harkins.

Rangers: McGregor, Whittaker, Weir, Cuellar, Steven Smith, Dailly, Burke, Thomson, Boyd (Cousin 85), Novo (McCulloch 77), Naismith. Subs Not Used: Alexander, Ferguson, Furman.

Booked: Whittaker.

Goals: Novo 27, Burke 40.

Att: 9,909

Ref: I Brines

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Rangers' Carlos Cuellar 8.17 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
McCall bemoans Thistle finishing
13 Apr 08 |  Partick
Sunday photo gallery
13 Apr 08 |  Scotland
Rangers 1-1 Partick Thistle
19 Mar 08 |  Scottish Cups

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