One down, two to go. The red, white and blue ticker tape had not been cleared from the pitch and the bottles of bubbly still had to be popped. Long before the Sky Sports Cup had been placed on the team bus, never mind reached the Ibrox Trophy Room, the discussions had already turned to future ambitions.

These were scenes for Jo Potter and Rangers to savour, yet they also now act as inspiration. That is the way of life at Rangers. You are only as good as your last game or your last triumph. The focus is on the next one and the talk is of the treble.

Victory over Partick Thistle was, with all respect to Brian Graham and his players, the easy bit for Rangers. This was a match that they were expected to win, and one they were expected to win well. First half goals from Mia McAulay, Rachel Rowe and Rio Hardy did the job before a Liv McLoughlin effort emphasised the difference between the sides. Those of a red and yellow persuasion lost themselves in a moment of ecstasy after Rachel Donaldson’s effort that was fit to grace any final, but this was one that Thistle never looked like winning.

“I think it is big,” Potter said as she sat with her medal round her neck and referenced where Rangers have come from and where they are heading. “It is all about momentum. The first trophy is always difficult. We are always there, we are still there to be caught and we are the ones at the forefront of the league that are there to be got at. Everyone wants to get us. We expect it. It is how we perform under that, how we take that pressure. I think that is a big moment today. To retain a trophy is never easy and I said to the girls ‘this is your trophy, make sure you keep your hands on it and retain it’. We go again for the next one.”

For many of those within an almost 5000-strong crowd, this was an afternoon that will see memories made. For those in blue on the pitch, it was all about the medals earned. The League Cup has been retained by Rangers, now the league title must be reclaimed. One of the Glasgow sides was dispatched with the ease expected but the other two – Glasgow City and Celtic – will be harder to shake off in the closing stages of the campaign.

John Bennett, the Rangers chairman, watched on from the main stand and made his way onto the touchline to offer his congratulations to Potter, her staff and her players. Rangers were the first club to professionalise the Women’s game in Scotland and the pursuit of a treble will be pursued with the same vigour at their end of Auchenhowie as the men's wing as Philippe Clement bids to add the Premiership title and Scottish Cup to the League Cup that was lifted in December.

Potter arrived at Auchenhowie in the summer with ideas as a coach and experiences as a player. She laid out a vision to raise standards and deliver silverware, and to play a progressive style of football. One of her first decisions was to appoint Nicola Docherty as captain. Just months later, the skipper and the boss had a moment together as the players collected their medals. Docherty was handed hers and the trophy before hoisting it aloft on the podium and she re-enacted the lift when she stepped off the bus back at Ibrox. 

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Potter acknowledged that it wouldn’t have been easy for the players to take on board all aspects of her philosophy straight away. It was a shift not just in style, but in culture and environment. She expressed her pride and hailed their mentality as ‘winners’ and the leadership qualities that were shown. The fact that this achievement came on the back of a defeat – the first that Potter has suffered as a manager – to Celtic last weekend was noteworthy in itself. It was a loss that hurt, but one that has now been parked.

Those that know Potter best speak of her attention to detail and the clarity of her messages. So far, she has been true to her word and good on her promises. The 90 minutes were all business for Potter. An hour or so before kick-off, she walked through the media room at Tynecastle and exuded an air of calm. When she took her seat later in the afternoon, she could reflect on a job well done and look forward to the next challenge.

This was a fixture played in the right spirit, an occasion that promoted the image of the Women’s game to a new audience. Many of those in attendance would have been regular watchers of these sides over the course of the campaign. For others, this was a day out, a chance to try something new on a pleasant, sun-kissed afternoon in the capital.

The fans, regardless of the colour of their shirts or scarves, mixed freely outside Tynecastle long before kick-off. Bagpipers provided the noise to accompany the colour, while Broxi and Kingsley posed for photographs. At half-time, the mascots jokingly confronted each other on the touchline before sharing an embrace.

Potter spoke pre-match about laying down a marker. The success of that particular endeavour relied on the performance rather than the outcome. Rangers were always expected to win here, but the manner of their showing and the margin of their victory would determine whether Potter’s side had done enough to make their rivals for the Premier League and Scottish Cup take notice. That box was ticked.

Come the interval, the main job was done for Rangers and it had become a matter of how many they would win by. The opener from McAulay may have been cancelled out by Donaldson but there was always a feeling that Rangers’ class and quality would shine through. Rowe and Hardy, two of the players that Potter recruited from England in the summer, ensured the upset was off the cards.

That moment from Donaldson had given Thistle a reason to believe. It provoked a visceral reaction from Graham. He kicked every ball throughout the final and the celebrations were from the heart as Donaldson beat Victoria Esson with a long-range effort. Donaldson headed straight for the touchline and was joined one by one by her teammates as Graham embraced the huddle.

He had turned and roared at the Thistle support in the main stand, his arms outstretched as his side savoured the acclaim. A bellowed celebration was followed by one of encouragement. Graham was suited and booted and looked every inch the manager on cup final day, but the task ultimately proved too great for his part-timers. The silverware went back to Ibrox rather than Firhill.

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There was a juxtaposition on the sidelines. Potter was animated in her own manner. At times in the first half, she looked frustrated. When the goals were scored, there was no outpouring of emotion. She was as cool, calm and composed as her team.

The scoring had been opened by McAulay inside a quarter of an hour. Kathryn Hill’s pass down the right channel saw Ava Easdon, the Thistle keeper, commit and then retreat. She was well out of position and McAulay finished emphatically. This has been a coming-of-age campaign for the 17-year-old and her performance here spoke volumes about her potential.

“I am not surprised,” Potter said. “She does it day in, day out. She is one that, as soon as I came in, she caught my eye straight away. There were a few, actually. There were quite a few players. But she was one as such a young player, I think she has got a huge, huge ceiling. I am not going to bang on about her too much because she is my player and I want her to stay with me but I think it is important that we recognise putting her into these moments. As a 17-year-old, stepping up and starting in a final is huge and to get that first goal was big for us. You saw the technique, you saw the ability to remain calm in those moments. She is stepping up in big moments in big games and she has definitely got a big future ahead.”

It took Rangers time, but the goals to assert their dominance eventually arrived. Rowe proved her class with a fine strike as she curled the ball across Easdon’s goal from left to right and into the top corner after Rangers worked a set-piece routine. She cupped her ears in celebration and attempted a belly slide. Asked about it following her interview post-match, she joked that she was disappointed with that particular effort because she didn’t go very far.

The third was the clincher. The move was incisive and the finish was clinical as Hardy combined with Jane Ross. Hardy slotted the ball under Easdon and that was that. When McLoughlin made it four, Thistle feared the worst. Hardy missed an open goal after a succession of defensive errors from Graham’s side. McLoughlin didn’t make the same mistake minutes later, though, as she finished from close range. It was a reward the midfielder’s efforts merited and praise came from her manager for the way she has settled into a new city and a new dressing room following her switch from Aston Villa in January.

READ MORE: Nicola Docherty predicts bright Ibrox future and lives her dream as Rangers captain

Graham admitted afterwards that he made the call to adopt a defensive mindset and attempt to see it out after that, wary of the fact that Rangers could have run riot and won by a comprehensive margin. The fifth goal didn’t arrive. It didn’t need to, of course. It would not have overexaggerated Rangers’ dominance but would perhaps been harsh on Thistle given everything that they, and Graham, put into the final, and their run to get here in the first place. It was the Jags fans that made the noise before the whistle sparked the Rangers party. Thistle had been on a wave of emotion in the build-up to the final and throughout it. Rangers played the game rather than the occasion.

The first trophy for any manager carries a significance that cannot be understand. Potter now has hers. As the whistle was blown, Potter turned to the crowd and smiled, bringing her hands to her lips then raising her arms. The cup had been sealed with a kiss.