Although frustrated not to have defeated Morton manager Jackie McNamara had been happy with his side’s performance and he kept the same starting eleven for the visit of Ayr United. The only change being on the bench where Stuart Bannigan was preferred to Sean Welsh.
Happy he may have been with the display at the weekend but he couldn’t possibly have been pleased with Thistle’s first half performance in this fixture. Ayr’s interval lead was just a solitary goal but Thistle could count themselves not to be completely out of the game by the time the half-time whistle sounded.
The opening goal arrived after just three minutes. Adam Dodd crossed from the left and Keigan Parker slid in to take advantage of hesitation in the Thistle box and score.
Ayr were desperately close to a second goal in the 12th minute. Scott Fox initially did well to deny Liam Tomsett and Thistle were thankful that Stephen O’Donnell was on hand to clear off the line when Tomsett got a second chance to score.
Less than a minute later Ayr did have the ball in the net again but the flag went up for offside saving Thistle blushes as Ayr continued to cut open the Thistle defence with alarming ease.
Mark Roberts was a player who scored many a Firhill goal while a Thistle player and he nearly added another to his collection, although this time in the colours of Ayr United, in the 20th minute but could hit the side netting when the ball broke to him at the bhack post.
With the Thistle fans in the crowd of 1,439 growing more disgruntled with every passing second it took Thistle until the 33rd minute to muster a worthwhile effort on goal. David Rowson created the opening for Kris Doolan who saw his shot well saved by Cuthbert in the Ayr goal. Rowson himself tested the Ayr keeper as Thistle at least finished the half on the front foot but there was no disguising the fact that it had been a hugely disappointing first 45 minutes from a Thistle side badly in need of a goal.
Ten minutes into the second half and Thistle had that badly needed goal. The ball fell nicely into the path of Kris Doolan and the Thistle striker’s sweet shot from 20 yards found the bottom corner of the net.
There was even better to follow for Thistle and Kris Doolan in the 64th minute. Chris Erskine chipped a cross into the box from the left hand side and Doolan was able to steer a header beyond Cuthbert and into the net.
A third goal would have provided Thistle with some much needed breathing space and Paul Paton wasn’t too far away from supplying that third goal in the 72nd minute. When the ball was touched back into the path of Paton his shot from the edge of the box was just a foot too high.
Chris Erskine too was close to supplying Thistle with a third goal. His drive going just wide and just out of the reach at Kris Doolan who tried to slide in at the back post.
In the 75th minute Doolan was desperately unlucky not to complete a highly impressive hat-trick. Kal Naismith had just come on to replace Christie Elliott and his touch to the left set up Doolan who saw his shot blocked by the body of the Ayr keeper.
In the 81st minute Thistle did get the third goal their second half performance deserved. Paton Paton’s run into the box was halted illegally by Eddie Malone, who was booked for his trouble. Although Doolan was on a hat-trick, Paul Cairney was the man to take the spot kick and he made no mistake with a powerful and confident strike.
With Ayr pushing men forward, Thistle nearly caught United on the break with a surging run from Paul Cairney taking him clear of the the Ayr defence but, understandably, ran out of steam when he reached the penalty box.
Thistle had been in complete control for the second half but Michael McGowan looked to set up a nervy ending when he cracked home a shot from fully 30 yards out with just two minutes of the game remaining.
Thistle though restored their two goal lead in next to no time. Paul Cairney taking his tally for the season into double figures when he was on hand to tap home a Kris Doolan assist.