MATCH REPORT: Partick Thistle 4-0 Ayr United – Firhill for thrills as Jags strike FOUR

Graham celebrates his stunner in style. Credit - Donald Wilson

Partick Thistle reignited their play-off plans for this season with a convincing 4-0 win over Ayr United.

Goals from Zak Rudden, Cammy Smith and Sean McGinty’s O.G were rounded off by a tremendous solo effort from Brian Graham for their first win over the Honest men since April 2019.

A very wet and windy Firhill meant for a scrappy start to proceedings. The game kicked into life on the half-hour mark as a number of Ayr bodies prevented Thistle from taking the lead with strong blocks.

Continuing to apply the pressure, the Jags deservedly took the lead in the 34th minute through Zak Rudden. Beating the offside trap, Rudden latched onto a looping ball from Scott Tiffoney, heading past Albinson into the bottom corner.

Minutes before half time the hosts were two in front. This time it was former Ayr star, Cammy Smith. Picking up the ball on the left, Brian Graham chipped an inch-perfect ball into the six-yard box leaving Smith the simple task of nodding home.

Smith heads home against his former club. Credit – Tommy Taylor

Much like the first half, Thistle dominated the majority of possession in the second period, threatening the Ayr goal on numerous occasions. The pick of the bunch coming from Tiffoney, forcing Ayr’s number one into a fingertip save from all of 25 yards.

Ayr’s best chance of the match came in the 67th minute. Free at the back post, Nick McAllister failed to take advantage of a looping cross from James Maxwell, heading into the gloves of the relieved Jamie Sneddon.

It was to be a tale of old friends at Firhill as Thistle sailed into a three-goal lead with the help of former defender Sean McGinty. Scott Tiffoney’s searching cross found Zak Rudden who attempted to lay the ball back into the box, instead cannoning it off the Ayr captain and into the net.

With ten minutes left it was game over as Thistle stormed into a four-goal lead. Talisman, Brian Graham took it upon himself to add to the scoresheet, jinking in and out of the Ayr midfield before curling exquisitely into the bottom right corner from outside the box.

Graham curls in from 20 yards for his ninth goal of the season. Credit – Tommy Taylor

Next up for the Jags, it’s a 160 mile round trip on Friday night as they face fellow Championship side, Queen of the South, in the SPFL Trust trophy. Ayr will look to recuperate with the postponement of next Saturday’s visit to Alloa due to a clash with Scotland v Israel, giving Duffy some much needed time to bond with his new side.

Man of the match – Tunji Akinola

Many fans felt Thistle’s new right-back was worthy of the Man of the Match award today despite Scott Tiffoney receiving the accolades. Akinola played with a level of passion rarely sighted in the modern game. Flying into tackles in the 95th minute to ensure his teams clean sheet, the highly rated defender could have a key part to play at the back if Thistle want to reach the Play-offs this term.

Partick Thistle: Sneddon, Foster, Holt, Mayo, Tiffoney, Bannigan, Graham, Rudden (Murray; 76), Smith (Hastie; 74), Akinola, Docherty (Turner; 81)

Unused: McCready (GK), Gordon, McKenna, MacIver

Ayr United: Albinson, Reading, Muirhead, McGinty, Murdoch, Moffat (Salkeld; 69), Adeloye, Baird, McAllister, Chalmers (Afolabi; 69), Fjortoft (Maxwell; 54)

Unused: McAdams (GK), Ecrepont

Referee: Duncan Williams

Attendance: 2,667 (407 away)

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