Lawrence Shankland maintained Dundee United’s 100 per cent home league record – and their three-point lead at the top of the Championship table – last night.
United’s prolific striker scored with a 62nd-minute header to end Partick’s resistance and secure another three points for Robbie Neilson’s title hopefuls. It took the 24-year-old striker’s tally to 16 so far this season and was one of his most important as second-placed Ayr United also won, beating Morton 3-2, in the race for the title.
The game was barely 45 seconds old when United forward Peter Pawlett went to ground with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Louis Appere
United had a fine chance on 18 minutes when winger Paul McMullan found himself right through after Stuart Bannigan had been dispossessed in midfield.
Jags defender Sean McGinty was in hot pursuit of McMullan whose shot, from 12-yards, lacked conviction and went straight into the hands of Partick keeper Scott Fox.
At the other end, Dario Zanatta had the visitors’ first real glimpse of goal in the 25th minute, only to see his volley from inside the box saved comfortably by Benjamin Siegrist.
Partick’s James Penrice was the first player booked by referee Greg Aitken for his wild lunge on Appere after 31 minutes, prompting an angry reaction from Neilson on the touchline.
Thistle started to come more into things and went close ten minutes before the interval. Siegrist parried Zanatta’s downward header straight to Kenny Miller, who converted the close-range rebound, only for the striker’s effort to be disallowed for offside.
The hosts raised their game after the break. Shankland went close with a header from Calum Butcher’s flick-on and, a couple of minutes later, rattled the crossbar with a 22-yard drive.
At the other end, Thistle threatened when Zanatta drove into the penalty box and saw his snap-shot blocked by Siegrist at the expense of a corner. But, just as Partick were starting to take control, the home teamstruck through their predatory striker.
Appere’s cross to the near post was perfect for Shankland whose angled header came off Fox’s far post before nestling in the back of the net.
The Tangerines held firm for the remainder of the game to add further fuel to their promotion push, which next sees them head for Inverness.