Partick Thistle clinch League One title in style with rout of Falkirk
The eighth league title in the colourful 145-year history of Partick Thistle is surely the sweetest of the lot for those of a Firhill persuasion.
On an evening when Ian McCall’s side produced a sparkling display worthy of clinching any divisional crown, the injustice of their relegation from the Championship last season was emphatically addressed with a 5-0 dismantling of Falkirk
The contentious SPFL decision to send them down in the coronavirus-curtailed 2019-20 campaign will remain a source of rancour and resentment for Thistle and their support for a long time to come.
But this was a night for the Jags to savour and celebrate as they swept Falkirk aside to clinch the League One crown and an immediate return to the second tier of Scottish football.
Watched from a vantage point high behind an open corner beside the Jackie Husband Stand by a vocal and jubilant gathering of their supporters, Thistle maintained the hot streak of form which has seen them surge past their rivals in the race for automatic promotion.
Now unbeaten in 12 games, they have come good when it mattered most and are unquestionably fitting champions.
By stark contrast, Falkirk’s slump at the critical business end of the season continues. With just one win in their last seven games, the side now under the interim charge of Gary Holt still require a point from the last two games just to secure a place in the play-offs.
They were a beaten team before half-time at Firhill as goals from Zak Rudden, Scott Tiffoney and Brian Graham put the hosts in complete control.
Former Rangers youth player Rudden, who had a loan spell at Falkirk two years ago, has struck a rich vein of form and headed in his seventh goal in his last six games to give a dominant Thistle a 29th minute lead.
On-loan Livingston wide man Scott Tiffoney, the most accomplished player on view, made it 2-0 with a sharp finish three minutes later before Brian Graham’s stunner from 22 yards put Thistle out of sight four minutes from the interval.
In truth, the final margin of victory could have been even more painful for the visitors. Thistle, intelligently prompted from midfield by Stuart Bannigan, created a procession of chances.
They settled for taking just two more of them - a magnificent sweeping move from inside their own half ending with Rudden laying on a tap-in for Graham before substitute Joe Cardle got in on the act with one of his first touches of the ball, bundling it home from close range after Falkirk ‘keeper Robbie Mutch couldn’t hold James Penrice’s shot.
On this evidence, Thistle will be a force to be reckoned with in the Championship next season. Falkirk’s prospects of joining them there appear increasingly remote.
Partick Thistle (4-4-2): Sneddon, Williamson, Brownlie, Bell (Geggan 75), Foster; Tiffoney (Cardle 68), Docherty (Gordon 63), Bannigan (Niang 75), Penrice; Graham, Rudden (Murray 75). Subs not used: Lyons, Wright, McKenna, Murray, Niang, MacIver, Geggan.
Falkirk (4-4-1-1): Mutch, Mercer (Durnan 46), Neilson (Gomis 60), McClelland, Kelly; Morrison (Francis 70), Alston, Miller, Leitch (Dowds 46); Fotheringham; Sammon (Keena 70). Subs not used: Laverty, Sneddon, Cantley.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.