Pedro Caixinha was left to rue a missed opportunity for Rangers last night as they dropped two points in a dramatic Premiership tussle with Partick Thistle at Firhill.
Leading by Alfredo Morelos’ eighth goal of the season, Rangers were rocked by a pulsating second-half fightback from Alan Archibald’s side, who took a 2-1 lead with goals from Blair Spittal and Chris Erskine.
But Erskine’s straight red card for a foul on Morelos helped Rangers level again through Graham Dorrans.
Caixinha has still failed to win three consecutive games during his six months in charge of Rangers and last night’s result means Celtic can open up a five-point lead between the teams with victory over Ross County today, before the first Old Firm clash of the season at Ibrox next Saturday.
“I am disappointed, of course,” said Caixinha. “We lost two points here, definitely. We are disappointed we are not taking all three points. We came here with that only in our minds.
“We scored our equaliser with 15 minutes to go and I felt we would push on to score again. The team played so well in the first half, they had clear chances to win the game. They had crystal clear chances to kill the game.
“So I felt when we missed those chances that it was going to cost us. That was the case in the end. We deserved more than we got and I believed we could win it after coming from behind.
“But we committed two mistakes and that led to both Partick Thistle goals and we need to avoid those kind of things. We had to change things, we wanted to be more aggressive.
“But, like the first half we couldn’t be crystal clear in taking our chances. We have to be better in those areas and we have to be stronger. I am frustrated that we are losing goals also.”
Rangers also have a concern over captain Lee Wallace, who limped off after just 12 minutes with a recurrence of a groin strain. He was replaced by recent signing from Cardiff City Declan John, who may now be in line to play at left-back against Celtic.
Thistle manager Archibald had no issues with referee Willie Collum’s dismissal of Erskine and was satisfied with the result.
“It was a red card,” said Archibald. “I’ve no complaints. He hasn’t got a bad bone in his body – he can’t tackle, he’s never been able to tackle. It came from taking too many touches. That was a bad habit right through our team tonight – the amount of times we gave the ball away, the turnover in possession.
“A lot of Rangers’ chances and breaks came from that – especially in the first half.
“We have lost a few late goals recently but that’s great for the lads, it gives them a bit more confidence and belief – especially with ten men.
“I thought we defended our box really well. That’s why we left the three centre-backs on, to go and deal with that threat and I felt they did so.”
Partick are still searching for their first win of the league season but they now move on to two points, one ahead of Kilmarnock and Dundee.