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Friday, 20 September, 2002, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Rangers ease Thistle aside
Ronald de Boer scores Rangers' second goal
Ronald de Boer was instrumental for Rangers
Rangers 3-0 Partick Thistle

Scottish Premier League leaders Rangers bounced back from their midweek Uefa Cup nightmare to ease aside Partick Thistle in the Glasgow derby at Ibrox.

Thistle never recovered from a goal conceded cheaply to Peter Lovenkrands after only three minutes.

Ronald de Boer was the creator of that and scored one himself just before the break before adding his own second and Rangers' third.

Lorenzo Amoruso and Mikel Arteta had returned to the Rangers starting line-up after missing the 2-0 defeat against Viktoria Zizkov, with Bob Malcolm and Claudio Caniggia making way.

Peter Lovenkrands celebrates his goal
Peter Lovenkrands opened the scoring
Craig Moore, who had been hurt in that Uefa Cup tie, passed himself fit enough to start as well.

Thistle arrived at Ibrox having made a start to the season that belied their pre-season tag of relegation favourites.

They had the best defensive record in the SPL but paid the price early on for defending in depth.

Rangers pushed forward in numbers and took the lead after three minutes.

Martin Hardie failed to challenge Moore as the defender rose to meet a Barry Ferguson free kick into the box.

When the ball fell inside a crowded six yard box, De Boer reacted quickest to power a drive towards goal.

Goalkeeper Kenny Arthur managed to palm the ball off the goal line but only into the path of Lovenkrands, who tapped the ball home from a couple of feet out.

Thistle regrouped and had an immediate chance to equalise when Alex Burns put Jamie Mitchell clear in the box with only Stefan Klos to beat.

But the goalkeeper was swiftly off his line to block the former Clyde forward's unconvincing attempt at a finish.

Thistle were now being more positive, with Scott Paterson commanding at sweeper.

Slack defending, though, was again to blame when they fell further behind after 28 minutes.

They failed to clear a long throw into the box and Derek Whyte allowed De Boer sufficient space to power an overhead kick into the net at the back post.

Ronald de Boer celebrates his first goal
Ronald de Boer was in commanding form
Rangers resumed control and Shota Arveladze should have made it three when De Boer's cross found him unmarked 12 yards out, but the Georgian's diving header went just wide of the far post.

Thistle tightened up by bringing on the experienced Danny Lennon for Ricky Waddell in midfield.

It was a damage limitation exercise now, although Rangers still had chances to increase their lead.

An Arteta free-kick was palmed wide of the post by Arthur and the goalkeeper also did well to block a Ferguson drive from the edge of the box.

In between those long-range efforts, a diving header from Lovenkrands went wide of the post.

Rangers eventually extended their advantage after 70 minutes when Lovenkrands got behind the Thistle defence and his low cross from the byeline was side-footed home by De Boer from four yards.

Thistle had a chance to make the scoreline more respectable when substitute Gerry Britton's chip found Burns ghosting into the Rangers area.

But the former Motherwell striker sent his half volley a few yards over.


Rangers: Klos, Muscat, Moore (Konterman 72), Amoruso, Ross, Ricksen, Ferguson (Latapy 80), Arteta, de Boer, Arveladze (Mols 81), Lovenkrands. Subs Not Used: McGregor, Dodds.

Goals: Lovenkrands 3, de Boer 28, 70.

Partick: Arthur, Craigan, Paterson, Whyte, Lilley, Mitchell, Buchan, Hardie (Milne 78), Archibald, Burns, Waddell (Lennon 45), Lennon (Britton 64). Subs Not Used: Budinauckas, Gibson.

Booked: Lilley, Britton.

Attendance: 48,696

Referee: K Toner.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's David Begg
"Thistle gave away two early goals cheaply"
Rangers manager Alex McLeish
"We carved out a lot of chances"
Thistle manager John Lambie
"We showed Rangers too much respect"
Rangers' Peter Lovenkrands
"We showed the fans we're back"
The SPL season gets under way

Weekend games

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