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Rangers held onto the Sky Sports Cup with a 4-1 win over Partick Thistle at Tynecastle in a game that was watched by 4,786 supporters – a record attendance for the tournament.

Jo Potter’s side were comfortable winners over Brian Graham’s part-time side and the win will inevitably spark ambitions now of a clean domestic sweep; Rangers are at the summit of the SWPL with a one-point cushion while they also have a Scottish Cup semi-final to look forward to against Celtic at Hampden.

17-year-old Mia McAulay kicked it off and although Thistle restored parity following a cracking strike from Rachel Donaldson from the edge of the box, their hopes of asserting themselves were short lived. Rachel Rowe re-established Rangers’ lead before Rio Hardy netted a crucial third in added time at the end of the opening period to send Potter’s side into the break with a comfortable cushion.

The second-period belonged almost exclusively to Rangers with Liv McLoughlin adding a fourth. There could well have been more as the Ibrox side dominated.

Certainly, there was no echo of last weekend’s defeat to Elena Sadiku’s side at Tynecastle as they flexed their domestic muscle against Thistle.

To their credit, Patrick Thistle had looked to get in about Rangers in the opening exchanges with McLoughlin forced to clear her lines after Imogen Longcake ad got in behind the Ibrox defence.

It was Rangers, though, who opened the scoring with teenager McAulay marking her first senior final with a goal. A sweeping long ball from Kathy Hill, back in the starting XI after injury, caught out Thistle and, with goalkeeper Ava Easton caught in no-man’s land, McAulay lashed her effort into the back of the net.

Thistle’s response was immediate. They restored parity after Clare Donaldson’s surging run picked out Rachel Donaldson who unleashed a ferocious effort from the edge of the box that sailed into the top corner.

Rangers upped the tempo and were back in front when Rowe rifled an effort into the top corner after Thistle had been caught out by a short corner.

Potter’s side kept up the pressure with a crucial third in added time at the end of the opening period with Jane Ross and Rio Hardy exchanging passes before Hardy netted with a low effort well beyond the reach of Easdon.

Hardy ought to have netted Rangers’ fourth after a mix-up between the Jags keeper and Demi Falconer and as the ball broke to Hardy she somehow contrived to screw her effort wide of the open goal that gaped in front of her.

It was the briefest stay of execution for Thistle. McLoughlin netted the fourth a minute later to put Rangers out of sight after she turned the ball into the net from close range.

Scotland internationalist Nicola Docherty whacked the woodwork in the closing minutes of the game as the Ibrox side comfortably claimed the trophy.

Thistle will lick their wounds on the back of this one but Graham’s side have compounded all manner of expectations this seasons with a budget that is dwarfed considerably by the top three.

Rangers, for their part, will look to utilise this victory as a springboard into the business end of the season.


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