Rock bottom of the table and desperate for points, Partick Thistle could not have envisaged the ordeal that would befall them at East End Park. Yet their nightmare was Dunfermline’s dream – and particularly for four-goal Kevin Nisbet.
The 22-year-old finished last season as the SPFL’s top scorer with 34 goals for Raith Rovers and proved he can repeat that prolific form along the Fife coast at East End Park after Thistle shot themselves in the foot by going a goal and a man down inside four minutes. Nisbet’s first two were penalties either side of Lewis Martin’s first strike in nearly five years, but the goal that wrapped up his hat-trick after just half an hour was stunning.
In contrast, his fourth was a simple tap-in from six yards out but, with Rangers amongst those credited with an interest in his development, this was a memorable afternoon for Nisbet against his old club.
“I was delighted with Kevin,” said Crawford, who was equally as pleased with the way his team had bounced back in style from last weekend’s shock Scottish Cup defeat to Stranraer. “Kevin’s third goal is a really pleasing one. I’ve looked back at it and there’s technique in it – the outside of the foot and his posture and his style when he strikes the ball.
“It’s great for him. He scored a lot of goals in the league below last season and he’s now starting to get a very good goal return in the league above. Credit to Kevin that he’s maturing. Players get to an age where they have to take responsibility as well and it showed during the week that last weekend mattered to him.”
Partick manager Ian McCall claimed his side had travelled to Fife full of belief. However, their outlook changed dramatically after just three minutes when skipper Tam O’Ware inexplicably pushed Greg Kiltie in the back to concede a penalty and receive his marching orders. Nisbet’s calm spot-kick sparked a rout as the Pars ruthlessly made the most of their early advantage.
“We prepared all week and were really, really confident of winning the game,” said a shell-shocked McCall. “After three minutes, the whole game turned on its head. After that it was just a horrible, horrible 90 minutes. It was an awful day for our club and I feel for our fans. I’ll be thinking about it all weekend.”