Thistle this afternoon consolidated their fourth place position in the division with their first away win at Palmerston Park since December 2007 and did so in some style recording their biggest away win since thumping Forfar Athletic 6-1 in the Challenge Cup in 2009.
An injury sustained to his hand in training on Friday ruled Scott Fox out for this fixture with Ryan Scully deputising in his place. This was Ryan’s fourth appearance in the Thistle first team and at the end of what was a quiet afternoon for the young Thistle keeper he had collected his third clean sheet from those four games. Aside from the change of goalkeeper, the only other change to the Thistle side from last week’s draw with Falkirk saw Sean Welsh, who played the vast majority of that game after coming off the bench, start in midfield.
Although Welsh wasn’t one of the four different Thistle scorers he still had an important role to play in Thistle’s eventual easy victory. It was a Welsh assist that led to the opening goal in the 17th minute. Sean swung the ball over from the right hand side, Kris Doolan resisted the opportunity to hit the ball first time, instead turned after taking a touch before steering the ball beyond Robinson and into the corner of the net.
Thistle had already been in control of the game before Doolan’s opener with Chris Erskine, after he had exchanged passes with Kris Doolan, shooting over the bar just before Thistle took the lead.
Thistle’s dominance of the match certainly merited a second goal and only the fingertips of Queens keeper Robinson prevented them from finding that second goal in the 36th minute. Chris Erskine was fouled just outside the Queen of the South and when David Rowson tapped the ball to Paul Cairney, Cairney’s curling effort looked to be heading for the corner of the net before Robinson’s intervention.
Cairney, a player very much in form at present, even tried to find the net from the centre circle but although his 40th minute effort was on target it never really looked like beating Robinson.
Thistle though did have a second goal in the 42nd minute. Paul Cairney picked out Stephen O’Donnell inside the Queens box. O’Donnell lobbed the ball over an advancing defender before taking the ball round Robinson. With a couple of defenders getting back on the goal line there was still a bit of work for O’Donnell to do but he made no mistake and gave Thistle a two goal half-time advantage.
It had been anticipated that the home side would start the second half with all guns blazing but a Queen of the south onslaught never truly materialised. With Scully not called on to make even a single save during the course of the 90 minutes the closest Queens came to a goal was a Scott Mclaughlin effort that was blocked at the edge of the Thistle box.
A third goal would surely seal the Thistle win and it arrived in the 64th minute. David Rowson broke up an attempted Queen of the South break and he picked out Kris Doolan was a nicely weighted pass. Doolan, as befitting a striker brim full of confidence, never looked like missing when left with just Robinson to beat.
Five minutes later Thistle had a fourth goal. Although Sean Welsh was caught late near the halfway line he still managed to get the ball out wide down the left hand side. Aaron Sinclair’s cross found Chris Erskine who had both the time and space to side foot the ball home from a few yards out.
The Thistle fans who gave the players excellent support throughout the game were in full voice now with demands for a fifth Thistle goal. There were just five minutes of the game remaining when they were celebrating that fifth goal. In the latter stages of the game manager Jackie McNamara took the opportunity to introduce three substitutes and it was one of that trio, Christie Elliott, who prodded the ball home from inside the six yard box.
This win was every bit as comfortable as the score line suggests with Thistle playing some excellent football against a Queen of the South side that look hard pressed to avoid relegation this season.