After Rangers had set the ball out for Malik Tillman to obtain treatment, Holt looked to establish a long ball from a throw-in back into the Gers’ half. Still, Tillman robbed him, ran through to round the goalkeeper, and put the orb in the net, sparking a melee with musicians from both sides and the on-loan Bayern Munich actor on the ground.
Amid the confusion, Rangers boss Michael Beale advised his players to allow Scott Tiffoney to steer up the pitch and equalize but with four minutes of average time remaining, Connor McAvoy looked like he headed into his net under coercion from James Sands to secure the Gers a spot in the last eight, but the discussion will continue.
Just hours behind the final whistle, Thistle told to widespread surprise that McCall and his leadership team had been sacked, with Under-18s trainer Kris Doolan carrying over on an interim basis.
The Jags model fifth in the Championship, 10 points behind heads Queen’s Park.
A report on Thistle’s website read: “Partick Thistle FC have this evening cleared Ian McCall, Alan Archibald, and Neil Scally of their duties about the first team with immediate effect.
“The club would like to place on the form its sincere appreciation to all three for their assistance to Partick Thistle over many years.
“Under-18 coach Kris Doolan will carry on the role of first-team director on an interim basis and will be helped in this regard by academy director Paul McDonald.
“At this crucial time of the season, we ask all components of the Partick Thistle family to get after Kris and the team as we strive to upgrade to the Scottish Premiership.”
It had pledged a relatively straightforward afternoon with Rangers in such good form.
Aside from the recovery of Colak, midfielder Nicolas Raskin was given his first start since signing from Standard Liege, with Ianis Hagi beginning for the first tour in over a year after recuperating from knee damage, with veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor, Sands, Glen Kamara, and Tillman reinstated. In contrast, Kemar Roofe had been rescued from shoulder damage to take his place on the bench.
Thistle had an excellent experience on their side in the form of Stuart Bannigan, Brian Graham, Aaron Muirhead, and former Ger Lee Hodson. Their 2,500 fans added much to the atmosphere.
The Maryhill men soon felt pressured, but the Govan side needed help to fashion a clear-cut chance for all their possessions.
Hagi headed a Todd Cantwell cross above the post from 14 yards in the 26th minute before the contest brought an unexpected twist.
McGregor made two good saves, one from a Kyle Turner free-kick from beyond the penalty area and then from Tiffoney’s strong drive from 14 yards, before the visitors took a wonder lead after a title from Holt inside the box struck the arm of nearby Colak.
Referee David Munro was invited to review the monitor by Steven Kirkland in order of VAR. He suggested to the spot with Holt confidently dispatching McGregor the wrong way with his spot-kick.
As Jags fans applauded, the Rangers supporters grew frustrated, and Beale took action at the break.
Ryan Kent and Roofe substituted Hagi and Cantwell, and within four minutes, Roofe had raced straightforward of the Thistle defense only to fire wide of the target.
However, a minute later, Colak handled in a Raskin cross at the rear post for his 15th goal of the season, and locks of relief went around Ibrox out with the yellow and red section.
Moments later, Sneddon parried a movement from Colak, and it looked like Rangers had seen their rhythm, although Graham’s theoretical effort from 35 yards evaded McGregor and the crossbar.
When Bannigan tangled legs with Tillman inside the box, referee Munro pointed to the spot, and after a VAR check, Sneddon blocked a poor action from Gers skipper Tavernier and Thistle retained hope.
Then came the great controversy with Tillman putting Rangers ahead before Tiffoney leveled to the amazement and bemusement of many in the crowd.
The match examined as if it could go to extra time, but from a Borna Barisic corner, the ball finished in the Thistle net, helped in by McAvoy. With Sands in attendance, it seemed a scrappy goal to settle a great match.
Rangers manager Michael Beale declares Malik Tillman was “totally unaware” of any wrong-doing in his controversial goal.
Beale spoke about a “disjointed” first-half version but was stubborn that Tillman, on loan from Bayern Munich, was utterly innocent.
He said: “Malik gets injured, and we recreate the ball out; Malik is down on the bed, and he doesn’t see that we have recreated the ball.
“So, by the moment Malik gets up, he notices they have a throw-in, and he places his hand up to the judge as if to say, ‘how have they gained a throw?’ and then he pushes as he has been taught.