Last updated : 21 September 2002 By Grandmaster Suck
Rangers 3 (De Boer 2 {27, 69}, Lovenkrands {2}) Partick Thistle 0


Lovenkrands (92)
Peter Perfect Pummelled Partick
It was a stroll in the sunshine for Rangers at Ibrox this afternoon, a 3-0 win over Partick Thistle banishing - at least temporarily - the midweek European blues.

There was a pre-match boost for the massed ranks of Rangers fans - not only were both Lorenzo Amoruso and Mikel Arteta back after injury, Craig Moore was in the starting line-up despite suffering a hip injury in Prague.

Rangers made the perfect start in two minutes when a Barry Ferguson free-kick found the head of Moore, who in turn fed De Boer, the Dutchman's volley being parried by Kenny Arthur only to fall perfectly for Peter Lovenkrands who netted from point-blank range.

Rangers were in total command with Thistle - even this early - adopting the role of bystanders. Content at times to keep possession in the middle of the park,
the Ibrox men gave the impression of being able to add to their single goal advantage at will.

Goal Number Two duly arrived in 27 minutes when a Maurice Ross throw-in eluded the entire visitors' defence, before being met by De Boer who - with his
back to the goal - sent an overhead kick past Arthur into the net.

There was an unrelenting procession towards the Partick goal as the half developed. A Fernando Ricksen twenty-yard free-kick in 35 minutes flashed just wide, then sixty seconds later the Dutchman turned provider when his cross was met by Shota Arveladze's diving header, the effort slipping inches wide of the target.

Ronald De Boer - so heavily criticised in midweek - was in fine fettle this afternoon - and he almost brought the house down in 42 minutes when his
chip-shot on the turn from a Ricksen pass was deflected into the side-netting with Arthur beaten.

One minute later a magnificent crossfield pass released Arveladze on the edge of the penalty area, the Georgian switching control from left-foot to right before firing in a low drive that was turned behind at full stretch by Arthur.

Rangers resumed after the interval as much in control as before, Arteta showing great imagination four minutes in when he bulleted a twenty-yard free-kick from a wide angle towards the target, only for Arthur to prove equal to the task.

A two-goal margin scarcely even began to justify Rangers' overwhelming superiority, and it should certainly have been three on the hour when Lovenkrands headed a Kevin Muscat cross wide when plumb in front of goal.

The Jags were hardly at the races as Rangers exercised absolute command of proceedings. Kenny Arthur again came to his side's rescue in 64 minutes when he blocked Ferguson's twenty-yard drive from a De Boer pass.

Just when the suspicion grew that Rangers were content with their lot, De Boer made it 3-0 in 69 minutes when he had the simple task of turning the ball home after Lovenkrands had laid the chance on a plate for him with a low cross from an Arteta pass.

Three minutes later Thistle had almost their first effort of the afternoon when an Alex Burns drive whistled just over the crossbar.

Michael Mols came on to great acclaim with ten minutes remaining, replacing Shota Arveladze whilst Russell Latapy substituted for Barry Ferguson at the same time, and within four minutes Mols was the victim of a quite shocking tackle by Scott Paterson who almost cut him in half. Incredibly Referee Kevin Toner chose not to award a free-kick, when he should have been brandishing a red card.

The game ended with Rangers on the attack - Lovenkrands was clean through with De Boer free on his right, but instead of presenting the Dutch maestro with his hat-trick the Dane chose to shoot, only for his effort to be deflected wide.

Manager Alex McLeish afterwards described his team's performance as the perfect response to Tuesday's setback.

"We received deserved criticism in midweek. Ronald De Boer showed character - he is always going to be an easy target, having played at the highest level."

Partick Thistle Manager John Lambie was blunt as always:

"I have no excuses. My pigeons would have made a better game of it."

RANGERS Klos; Muscat, Moore (Konterman 71), Amoruso, Ross; Ricksen, Ferguson (Latapy 80), De Boer, Arteta; Arveladze (Mols 80), Lovenkrands
UNUSED SUBS McGregor, Dodds

PARTICK THISTLE Arthur; Lilley, Craigan, Paterson, Whyte; Archibald, Waddell (Lennon 45 {Britton 63}), Buchan, Hardie (Milne 76); Mitchell, Burns
UNUSED SUBS Budinauckas, Gibson

REFEREE Kevin Toner