On-loan Aberdeen striker Cammy Smith put Partick Thistle to the sword with a fabulous first-half hat-trick in last night’s League Cup tie at Tannadice.
Smith single-handedly assured United of their place in tonight’s quarter-final draw courtesy of his goal haul within the space of 20 minutes, ending their Premiership opponents’ unbeaten start to the season as well as maintaining their own.
The Scotland under-21 international struck first in just ten minutes before adding a second in 27 minutes and rounded matters off thanks to a 29th- minute penalty to leave the visitors with precious little hope of mounting a revival.
Alan Archibald’s side, stunned by the Championship side’s start, did get a consolation goal through Sean Welsh’s 64th-minute penalty, but the night belonged to 20-year-old Smith following his summer loan move to Ray McKinnon’s men.
It all began when Scott Fraser slid a pass through for Smith, below, who kept his calm before shooting beyond Ryan Scully in the visitors’ goal.
Thistle were reeling from United’s brisk start, although Chris Erskine, back at his old club, tried to change things with a crisp shot which home goalkeeper Cammy Bell was relieved to see go over his crossbar.
But, in 27 minutes, Smith struck again. Tope Obadeyi head-flicked the ball on for Smith whose pace was too much for the Jags’ defence, and he stayed strong to beat Scully with a low shot across his body.
A minute later, Smith completed his hat-trick.
Blair Spittal’s effort was handled by Ziggy Gordon inside the penalty box, leaving referee Steven McLean with no option but to point to the spot, and up stepped Smith to send Scully the wrong way from the spot.
The pattern remained the same after the break and Spittal was denied making it 4-0 by Scully’s 54th-minute reflex save.
But Thistle pulled one back in 64 minutes. Lewis Toshney was judged to have fouled Erskine, and Welsh made no mistake from the resultant spot-kick.
Still, there was no serious hope of a comeback. Instead, Obadeyi ought to have increased United’s lead in 76 minutes.
Abdul Osman gave away possession, allowing Obadeyi to run past Danny Devine on his way to goal, but Scully dived smartly to save at the African striker’s feet.