Airdrie take Thistle to brink of title triumph

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PARTICK Thistle left it late to defeat hosts Airdrie United. However, their 2-1 success has put them within two points of the First Division title.

The Jags will be crowned champions tomorrow night if they see off Raith Rovers at Firhill, while the defeat leaves the Diamonds set to be playing Second Division football next season.

Airdrie took the lead on 35 minutes when Liam Watt took advantage of a slice by Conrad Balatoni to net at the second attempt and a faltering Jags side survived a scare just after the break when Andy Dowie tangled with Watt in the box. No penalty was awarded and no red card shown and Thistle made the most of that reprieve with less than 90 seconds remaining when Balatoni headed home an Aaron Sinclair corner.

That was not good enough for Alan Archibald’s side and, just as injury time started, substitute Christie Elliot shot home to send the away fans into dreamland. Archibald said: “It was a fantastic finish and we have the chance now to win the league in front of our fans on Tuesday night. It would be terrific if we could do that.

“We have bounced back from the Ramsdens Cup defeat in great style with two terrific wins in a few days.”

Airdrie boss Jimmy Boyle said: “We should have had a penalty and the result is difficult to take as we deserved something. We are down now unless something changes in the leagues.”

Dunfermline’s Ryan Thomson enjoyed the perfect birthday as the Pars responded brilliantly to the 15-point penalty imposed on them by the SFL by defeating Morton 1-0.

The only goal came after ten minutes when Alex Whittle picked up a misplaced pass by Scott Taggart and sent Allan Smith darting goalward. Smith slipped a pass to Thomson, who turned 22 on Saturday, and he sent a low shot home from ten yards.

The Cappielow side infuriated manager Allan Moore with their low-key approach and Dunfermline almost grabbed a second in the second half, but Derek Gaston saved from Smith.

Pars manager Jim Jefferies said: “When you look at the team we had out, that is the result of the season.”

Dunfermline remain second bottom and are scrapping it out to avoid the play-off scramble with Cowdenbeath, whom they meet next weekend, and Dumbarton who had Saturday off as they were due to play Falkirk. The Blue Brazil are also in good heart after a 1-0 win over Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park where Jamie Stevenson was the matchwinner when he curled home a 25-yard free kick four minutes from half-time.

The season appears to be ending too soon for Hamilton striker Stevie May, who hit a hat-trick for the second game running as the Accies defeated Livingston 3-0 to make it three wins out of three for interim manager Alex Neil.

May scored from the penalty spot on 41 minutes after Jon McShane had been fouled and the on-loan St Johnstone frontman netted again before the break from an Ali Crawford cross. Team-mate Jonathan Page was dismissed with ten minutes to go but May grabbed his third with a swift turn and shot.