Football / Scottish Premier Division: McSwegan on target

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Rangers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Partick Thistle. . . . . . . . . . . .1

THE RANGERS youngsters, Gary McSwegan and David Hagen, scored the goals that secured an invincible position in their quest for a fifth consecutive championship, although other results mean they still require one point to uncork the champagne.

With the more experienced Rangers players clearly saving their efforts for Wednesday, the 22-year-old McSwegan provided the two moments of class in the first half.

His 24th-minute crossfield pass to Mark Hateley was brilliantly intercepted by Paul McLaughlin, but his third goal of the season five minutes from half-time left Thistle helpless.

Hateley headed along the six- yard line finding the unmarked McSwegan with both the time and the ability to put an overhead kick beyond the stranded Murdoch. The visitors did respond with a Gerry Britton effort right on half- time slipping under Maxwell for a corner.

In the 67th minute, Ian Ferguson flicked the ball over the Thistle defence and, with no offside decision given, Hagen ran in to shoot past Murdoch.

Stuart McCall then curled a fine effort wide and Hateley brought out a magnificent close- range save from Murdoch before McSwegan scored his fourth goal of the season and his third against Thistle in the 80th minute.

Thistle gained some reward for their determination right on full- time with a comic goal. Maxwell returned a John Brown pass-back straight to Britton in the box, and the ex-Celtic striker took full advantage of the mistake.

Rangers: A Maxwell; S McCall, S Watson, N Murray, S Pressley, J Brown, D Gordon, I Ferguson, G McSwegan, M Hateley, D Hagen. Substitutes not used: I Durrant, A McCoist.

Partick Thistle: A Murdoch; R Farningham, D McVicar, P McLaughlin, W Jamieson, D Irons, A Craig, A Taylor (K Magee, 80 min), G Britton, C McGlashan (I English, 72 min), I Cameron.

Goals: McSwegan (1-0, 40 min); Hagen (2-0, 67 min); McSwegan (3-0, 80 min); Britton (3-1, 90 min).

Referee: J Kelly (East Kilbride).