Windass on song as Gers crank up the heat on Dons
Partick Thistle 0 Rangers 2
Strikes from Josh Windass and James Tavernier gave Rangers a business-like 2-0 Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership win away at Partick Thistle.
A clinical finish by attacker Windass in the 38th minute had Graeme Murty's side ahead at the interval at The Energy Check Stadium, with the home side frustrated when a shot by returning striker Conor Sammon just before half-time rebounded off the post and stayed out.
With another moment of quality in the 58th minute, right-back Tavernier doubled the Light Blues' lead with a 20-yard drive to take the Ibrox men to within three points of second-placed Aberdeen, leaving the Jags one point above second-bottom Hamilton.
"It's job done," said Gers boss Graeme Murty. "We weren't as slick as I would like, we made some fundamental errors at times, but the two goals we scored were outstanding.
"When we moved the ball sharp at our tempo and intensity we cut through them well. At times it wasn't where we needed it to be, but the second half was better. I said to the boys that we needed to come here to do a professional job, we needed to be solid. I didn't think we were at times, but we showed resilience.
"The important bit wasn't about playing well, it was putting all the elements together. The pleasing part for me was the clean sheet, although we got away with a couple.
Sammon, with five goals in his previous four games, looked confident, and in the seventh minute he latched onto a Blair Spittal pass but his shot from close range was diverted behind by Gers keeper Wes Foderingham.
On a bitterly cold night, Rangers slowly worked their way into the game and in the 25th minute missed a good chance.
An in-swinging free-kick by midfielder Sean Goss was headed wide by Russell Martin from six yards out.
It was a let-off for the Maryhill men who came back strongly and six minutes later attacker Ryan Edwards ran onto a Sammon head-flick and volleyed the ball into the Light Blues' net but the offside flag was up.
It was the Govan side who forged ahead with a sweeping move which saw Jason Cummings pass to Daniel Candeias wide on the right, and when he quickly slid the ball into the box Windass instantly drove it high past Thistle goalkeeper Tomas Cerny.
The home side responded and seconds before the interval it looked like Sammon had levelled with a drive from 14 yards, but the ball struck the far post and bounced back across the goal.
Rangers started the second half brightly. In the 51st minute Cerny had to race from his line to thwart Tavernier.
However, Cerny had no chance with Tavernier's next effort just before the hour mark, when he took a Windass pass before sending a drive from 20 yards dipping in under the bar.
The game stretched as Thistle went in search of a goal to bring them back into the reckoning.
However, Rangers were composed and assured in the final stages.
In the 83rd minute Foderingham made a save from Miles Storey following a Partick corner but that aside, the game petered out to conclusion.
PARTICK: Cerny, McGinn, Devine, Cargill, Penrice (Dumbuya 88), Osman, Woods, Spittal (Erskine 51), Edwards, Storey, Sammon (Doolan 72).
Subs not used: Scully, Barton, McCarthy.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Bates, Martin, John (Halliday 45), Holt, Goss, Candeias (Docherty 86), Windass, Murphy, Cummings (Morelos 81).
Subs not used: Cardoso, Miller, Dodoo, Alnwick.
Man of the match: Josh Windass (Rangers)
Match rating: 6/10
Referee: Alan Muir