ROSS COUNTY won consecutive league games for the first time since they visited Firhill on the closing day of last season and, in so doing, finally moved off the foot of the table and up into tenth place.
Scorers: Partick Thistle - Taylor 68; Ross County - Curran 11, De Vita 65, Fraser 71
The victory was no less than they deserved and their winning margin could easily have been greater.
It was a gutless performance from the Jags and one which worried manager Alan Archibald.
“The opening goal we thought was hand ball and so did the fourth official but we didn’t get it,” he said. “After that, Ross County looked the hungrier side – they showed more desire. It’s the first time this season that’s happened to us and they deserved the victory. I told our lads that it looked as though County had something to play for and we didn’t. But we’ve got pride to play for and we’re now in a relegation battle.
“That’s five defeats in a row. That’s relegation form and the players have been made well aware of that. Everyone is looking for another Hibs this year.”
County took the lead with a goal which was so preventable it had the veins in Archibald’s head throbbing.
Holding midfielder Abdul Osman was initially culpable for an under-cooked pass out of his own penalty area which lacked the legs to reach its intended target. Michael Gardyne stepped in to take possession and fired in a cross which was cut out by Frederic Frans.
Unfortunately for the Belgian, his attempted clearance struck Dan Seabourne and fell benignly for Craig Curran, whose mis-hit shot from six yards went in via the inside of Paul Gallacher’s right-hand post. Gary Fraser, who had a thoroughly miserable afternoon, then missed a pinch, somehow failing to meet Christie Elliott’s cross when it seemed a simple task to head home.
County were a constant threat on the break and, when Fraser ceded possession to Liam Boyce, it led to the striker being hauled back by Seabourne and the award of a penalty, which was weakly and wastefully sidefooted straight at Gallacher by Curran.
The visitors were not to be denied, however. Gardyne dispossessed Fraser in the centre of the pitch before supplying Raffaela De Vita, who shot low across the advancing Gallacher.
Lyle Taylor pulled one back with a header from a Kallum Higginbotham corner but more sloppy defending allowed full-back Marcus Fraser a clear run in on the goalkeeper and he provided a composed finish from 12 yards.
“I’ve seen since the day I came in the door that there are players here that are capable of winning matches at this level,” said County manager Jim McIntyre.
“But it’s fine me saying that. You have to win for people to believe it. However, we’ve only won two games. A wrong result next week and we could be back down so we won’t get carried away.
“The tempo of our game was excellent and we put them under great pressure. It’s important you do that and force your opponents into mistakes.”
Alarm bells are now ringing down Maryhill way but goalscorer Taylor advises against betting on a Thistle meltdown.
“Once it was 2-1, we were all over them and it’s just frustrating that we conceded a stupid goal that we should never be conceding,” he said. “That goes for all three goals.
“The dressing room isn’t low because, with the seven-point cushion we have, we will back ourselves to stay up. That seven-point cushion could disappear quickly, though, so we have to work harder.”
Partick: Gallacher, O’Donnell, Seaborne, Frans,Booth (Bannigan 57), Osman (Higginbotham 58), Fraser, McDaid (Doolan 46), Stevenson, Elliott, Taylor. Subs not used: Basalaj, Balatoni, Craigen, Lawless.
Ross County: Brown, Fraser, Boyd, Quinn, Reckord, Gardyne, Irvine, De Vita, Woods (Kiss 78), Curran (Dingwall 85), Boyce (Jervis 73). Subs: Regeuro, Senas, Kiss, Cardle, Burgess.
Referee: Stephen Finnie. Attendance: 2,951
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS