Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke was last night celebrating his team’s first home league victory of the season and their first back-to-back wins in the Premiership since October, 2015.
His players utterly dominated the second half and could easily have won by a wider margin but Clarke was content with the outcome.
“It’s nice to win back-to-back games, nice to score five, nice to sit on the bench at the end feeling comfortable,” he said.
The tempo of the play and the number of opportunities created during the opening quarter of this contest had some spectators wondering whether they were watching this match on fast forward.
Less than a minute had passed when Eamonn Brophy failed to hit the target from three yards after being picked out by Stuart Findlay’s cutback and there was no let-up after that.
With debutant Youssouf Mulumbu and Gary Dicker pulling the strings, Killie enjoyed the better of the early cut and thrust and took the lead when Kris Boyd smashed home from 12 yards after visiting defender Niall Keown had scuffed Mulumbu’s cross into his path.
Chris Erskine equalised with a curling shot beyond Jamie MacDonald’s outstretched right hand just four minutes later but home manager Steve Clarke will want to know why the midfielder was allowed to do so unchallenged.
Brophy then doubled his goals tally for the Ayrshire club when he was first to the rebound after goalkeeper Tomas Cerny spilled a free-kick from Boyd.
The goals only told part of the story. With two defences as porous and nervous as each other, there were numerous chances at either end. However, the roof fell in on Thistle after the break.
Keown, who struggled throughout, made a hash of clearing a kick-out from MacDonald and sliced the ball to Brophy. When the latter’s shot was parried by Cerny the ball struck the defender and trickled into the net.
Brophy claimed the fourth, when non-existent marking allowed him to supply the finishing touch to a Boyd header.
The fifth came from a dubious penalty kick, awarded for an alleged foul on Kirk Broadfoot by Jordan Turnbull. Boyd despatched it without embarrassment to give Killie their biggest league victory for 11 years.
For the visitors, there were no consolations. They remain four points adrift from second-bottom Ross County and showed few signs here of the grit required for a relegation battle.
“It doesn’t matter how you play if you defend like that; it was abysmal,” said manager Alan Archibald.