First Division: Partick back on top after rout of rivals Dunfermline

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PARTICK Thistle donned their traditional bright red and yellow colours for the first time this season and they sent out a vibrant message by defeating Dunfermline 5-1 at Firhill.

The Jags had gone into the match one goal behind the East End Park side at the top of the table and watched by a bumper crowd of 5,268, they turned that around in style, although manager Jackie McNamara is not getting carried away.

A delay at kit manufacturers Puma had led to the Firhill men wearing a blue and purple outfit, but it took Thistle only four minutes to score in their traditional shirt when Steven Lawless converted a low cross from Stephen O’Donnell.

Dunfermline drew level in 24 minutes when Ryan Wallace crossed and Aaron Muirhead touched the ball past his own goalkeeper Scott Fox. Wallace then went close with a fierce low drive that flashed just wide.

Thistle made the most of that reprieve and led 3-1 at the interval with Conrad Balatoni rising to nod home a Forbes free kick on 35 minutes and O’Donnell deftly chipping after Chris Erskine created an opening.

Forbes added a fourth with a terrific drive from 35 yards and Lawless closed the scoring on 75 minutes with a left-foot shot from the edge of the box.

Thistle have now won all their six league games at Firhill this season, scoring 24 times. This victory, however, came at a price as goalkeeper Fox suffered a thigh injury midway through the second half which resulted in him being stretchered off.

McNamara said, “We played really well and it was a great win but there is a long way to go. We might have beaten them but to me Dunfermline are still the favourites for the First Division.”

“We will take a massive lift for the game but just like any other game it was worth three points. It will mean little if we do not go on and win our next games.”

Dunfermline manager Jim Jefferies said, “I am disappointed as Thistle wanted it more than we did. Their desire was higher than ours and we also made mistakes. We paid a heavy price as a result.”

Thistle’s day got even better when they learned that Morton, who had been stalking the top two after a run of seven unbeaten league games, had lost 1-0 at home to Hamilton Accies.

The winner came from Stevie May on 21 minutes when he collected Jon Routledge’s pass and sent home a low 20-yard drive.

May was denied a second when Derek Gaston produced a fantastic save to keep out his header and Morton’s search for an equaliser came to nothing, with their former goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert keeping out efforts from Scott Taggart and Michael Tidser.

Raith Rovers defeated Falkirk for a second time this season when they came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Stark’s Park.

The Bairns took the lead two minutes from half-time when Luke Leahy scored after a Lyle Taylor effort had been saved, with Rovers restoring parity 11 minutes into the second half when on-loan Hearts youngster David Smith shot home from 25 yards with the aid of a deflection.

The winner came five minutes from time when Grant Anderson netted after Michael McGovern had kept out his first effort.

The result leaves Falkirk 15 points behind Thistle and their chances of winning the First Division are fading, however Dumbarton’s hopes of survival are shining brighter after stand-in manager Jack Ross guided them to a 1-0 win over Cowdenbeath to secure their first three-point haul of the season.

The winner came on 28 minutes when Mark Gilhaney side-footed home, with the Sons making it difficult for themselves when Bryan Prunty missed a second-half penalty.

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