Rangers late show hides their lack of conviction

Joe Dodoo scores his Rangers' first goal against Partick Thistle. Picture: SNS.Joe Dodoo scores his Rangers' first goal against Partick Thistle. Picture: SNS.
Joe Dodoo scores his Rangers' first goal against Partick Thistle. Picture: SNS.
Rangers will complete a set when they play Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday. Robbie Neilson's men are the last of the 12 Premiership sides they have yet to meet. On the evidence of the jaunt across the city, the trip to Gorgie is one that should cause a degree of anxiety within the ranks of Mark Warburton's squad.

The compelling, clinching ends that the Ibrox men are fashioning to their confrontations are caused by an absence of conviction beforehand. To come back from a goal down to lance Partick Thistle with two luscious strikes by substitute Joe Dodoo – the winner not arriving till the 94th minute – spoke of guts and heart. As did the previous week’s victory delivered by substitute Harry Forrester’s strike against Dundee.

Danny Wilson – preparing for a first return to Tynecastle since leaving there for Rangers in the summer of 2015 – is well aware that the manner of recent wins isn’t a recipe for sustained success. Neither is the fact that Warburton’s now second-placed side haven’t beaten any of the teams occupying the leading places wherein Hearts nestle.

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Robbie Neilson’s team will befacing Rangers home and away in the next fortnight, with an Ibrox visit by Aberdeen sandwiched in between.

“In an ideal world we would be a few goals ahead but the last few weeks we have had to dig deep to get the points. That is something we were not doing a month ago so that is a positive for us,” said Wilson, pictured, Warburton’s side now on a seven-game unbeaten league run stitched together with five wins. “We can’t say we were great but we managed to dig it out and that is important.

“That’s two wins on the trot and we haven’t done that much this season. We have a big week coming up with Hearts at Tynecastle first and then Aberdeen. We are all tightly bunched up so we need to keep putting points on the board. We are under no illusions as to how difficult it will be on Wednesday but we go there on the back of two wins and hopefully we can gain more momentum.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Tynecastle but I’m not sure what kind of reaction I’ll get. I had a great time there and a lot of friends who are still there, but I’m going there to do a job for Rangers.

“We need to start putting points on the board against teams in and around us. You always feel better after a win and the way it’s come about means there is a happy changing room. But, we know we have a couple of big weeks ahead of us and we look forward to them.”

Dodoo turned the encounter after Kris Doolan had struck with a quarter of an hour remaining to provided the Maryhill side reward for a vibrant display. The 21-year-old did so with finishes of finesse and precision that brought him his first league goals for the club after a stop-start time with injury and uncertain form following his summer arrival. The sang froid shown by Dodoo in such pivotal moments at the weekend was something that Wilson was willing to acknowledge Rangers haven’t always been blessed with from players in attacking areas this season.

“I think that’s what we do need,” he said, when asked if the team had lacked a cool-headed, lethal striker. “We have been trying to preach to each other that we should be calmer when we get into those situations. I’m not a forward so it’s not my place to tell people how to finish but Joe has scored two great goals. He has the capabilities to put the ball in the back of the net. We have not scored that many goals this season and that has been our downfall in games.” Not in recent weeks, at least. If only by the skin of their teeth.