KILMARNOCK remain in fifth place, level on points with Celtic, following their biggest win of the season against a wretched Partick Thistle side.
Obadeyi 25, 57; Pascali 52
Impressive though Allan Johnston’s side undoubtedly were (with Alexei Eremenko once again giving a masterclass in playing in the hole), the visitors capitulated long before the final whistle, much to the disgust of their travelling support.
Fortune favoured the brave on an afternoon when Thistle rarely threatened and their opponents reaped the rewards of a more pro-active approach.
“It was a really good team performance from start to finish,” said manager Allan Johnston. “There were a lot of superb individual performances as well, and none more so than Alexei. Some of his passing was frighteningly good. That’s what he’s capable of and why we brought him back.
“The hardest part of the game is creating chances and scoring goals and he has the vision to do that. We cut them open today. But we also defended well. Manu Pascali and Mark Connolly have been excellent this season and Craig Samson had a great double save. I could single out everyone.”
Eremenko knows more angles than internet fraudsters, a fact he underlined with a magnificently disguised and perfectly-weighted reverse pass to release Chris Johnston in the sixth minute.
Unfortunately, the winger’s cutback for the in-rushing Josh Magennis was not as accurate and Thistle were able to clear their lines.
At the other end an excellent double save by Samson denied Steven Lawless and then Kris Doolan after Darryl Westlake had been caught in possession 18 yards out.
Then Jamie Hamill released Ross Barbour with a 40-yard pass and Tope Obadeyi headed the full-back’s cross behind Scott Fox from six yards.
Thistle were never really at the races here, although Ryan Stevenson briefly worried the home side with a drive from 30 yards which rebounded to safety from the crossbar with Samson a spectator.
Eremenko continued to pull the strings, though, and his chipped pass enabled Johnston to produce a shot which Scott Fox turned behind.
The respite was brief. Eremenko took the corner, delivering it to the near post with venom and Manuel Pascali used the pace on the ball to direct his header behind Fox.
Kilmarnock were rampant and Eremenko, with a casual, almost offhand, pass, set up Obadeyo for his second, a low right-foot drive from 15 yards.
Eremenko continued to delight the home support with his deft touches and audacious flicks, prompting a lunge from Conrad Balatoni which saw the defender receive a yellow card.
Aaron Muirhead and Jake Caroll were also cautioned on an afternoon when nothing went right for the visitors, who failed to produce a second-half attack of note.
“The game turned on that double save by Samson,” said Thistle manager Alan Archibald. “We had some good chances in the first half but didn’t take them and they were more clinical than us.
“We’ve defended crosses quite well this season but the first and second goals were really disappointing from that point of view.”
MAN OF THE MATCH: Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock) His probing and prompting tormented the visitors.
TALKING POINT: Why isn’t he playing for someone far better than Killie?
Referee: A Dallas. Attendance: 3,980