Well what a chaotic cup quarter-final that was for Rangers, with fans absolutely melting over the torturous 90+ minutes we witnessed at Ibrox on Sunday.
To simplify it down to the ‘sportsmanship’ incident would be overlooking a host of maelstrom, but we’ll try to keep it reasonably basic as to not completely overwhelm ourselves as much as anything, but this one really was as proper a cup-tie as we could have expected.
Let’s take a look at the starting XI – it was a mess. There were a lot of good names in there, but the sight of James Sands at the back, selected to avoid risking Connor Goldson’s mild calf strain, didn’t go down well with fans at all. It also highlighted the very reason we desperately need more defenders, but that’s for another day.
In terms of performance, it was extremely poor – the first half was turgid, and Thistle, maybe not ‘deserving’ their lead, can equally say they weren’t robbing us either, and Rangers’ inability to put any chances away against the Jags was flimsy at best. Striker Antonio Colak, a welcome return, had nothing to feed off at all.
But it all kicked off after Rangers’ brilliant equaliser, clinically finished by Goalak after an excellent Raskin assist.
First James Tavernier was outfoxed by Jamie Sneddon who stayed on his tod in the goal, gambling on Tavernier going down the middle. It paid off, and it was a miss for the captain. We don’t know why more goalies don’t do this.
But then it really set on fire. Malik Tillman misread an unwritten sporting rule in football, and nicked the ball to score an admittedly fine finish, but it was a mistake to do it – we Rangers fans would be fuming if Thistle had scored at the other end with the situation reversed. You give the ball back and the game resumes from a neutral point.
Michael Beale did the right thing, albeit we’ve seen it done before – supporters bewildered and claiming ‘in 30 years I’ve never seen that before’ missed it happening in England a couple of seasons ago at Elland Road under Marcelo Bielsa, who let Villa have a free goal in 2019 after the exact same scenario.
So while we don’t agree with everything from Beale, we support what he did, even if we took some poisonous abuse from our fans today for supporting the manager and endorsing the show of grace.
To top it all off, the winner was an own goal, initially credited to James Sands.
Then even more was to come as former Ranger Ian McCall and his whole staff got fired by Thistle shortly after full time.
This was one maelstrom of a match, and the reaction from many supporters makes us feel like we lost.
But once again, Beale has the Midas touch to just keep winning, even when he makes errors, which he admits he did on this one.
We did ride some luck but we won again.
We told you many many weeks ago this rollercoaster was how life at Ibrox under Michael Beale would be.
Now you see it!