Partick Thistle 0 - 6 Aberdeen: Wright hits hat-trick

Aberdeen made a statement yesterday in their final Premiership fixture of the season, announcing to all and sundry that they will not be turning up at the national stadium on Saturday to supplicate themselves at the feet of Celtic.
Aberdeen's Scott Wright celebrates one of his three goals against Partick Thistle. Picture: SNSAberdeen's Scott Wright celebrates one of his three goals against Partick Thistle. Picture: SNS
Aberdeen's Scott Wright celebrates one of his three goals against Partick Thistle. Picture: SNS

They went one better than Celtic had done with their victory at the same venue on Thursday, handing Thistle their biggest home defeat since they endured the same scoreline against Gretna in September 2006.

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Derek McInnes and his players will now go into this weekend’s William Hill Scottish Cup final against Celtic brimful of confidence after following their first victory at Ibrox since 1991 with this emphatic win, which set a new club record points total of 76.

They’re also likely to go into the match with a clean bill of health after midfield pair Peter Pawlett and Ryan Jack, pictured, featured in the second half.

“Both Ryan Jack and Peter Pawlett trained on Friday,” said manager Derek McInnes. “They weren’t great in terms of the quality and I thought they looked a bit restricted in terms of their movement.

“We weren’t sure that they would definitely be involved today. That wasn’t the plan but they then trained very well on Saturday and we hoped to get them on the pitch at some point.

“We thought about maybe starting one rather than having both on at the same time but Saturday’s session gave me the confidence to allow them both to have 45 minutes.

“I’m really pleased they’ve managed to get some football and it bodes well; as we sit here now I’ve got nobody injured or suspended and that’s the position I hoped we’d be in three games ago.

“We wanted to make sure we secured second place, of course, but the final was always the priority. Waking up on Monday morning with a clean bill of health was what I wanted.”

Partick Thistle supporters, having finally achieved the top-six finish they have aspired to for years, will now be uncomfortably familiar with the expression “be careful what you wish for”.

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The problem for the weakest team in that elite group is that there are no easy pickings, as the Jags have discovered the hard way. Since drawing 2-2 at Tynecastle they have lost four on the spin, with an aggregate score of 1-14.

From the moment Ryan Christie drove home Adam Rooney’s cushioned header from a Jonny Hayes free-kick after seven minutes, it was never a question of how but how many for the Dons.

Scott Wright, a 19-year-old midfielder, fired home the second after Ash Taylor had seen a header from Anthony O’Connor’s cross come back off the bar.

Wright quickly added a third when captain Kenny McLean broke from his own half and played him in to drive the ball under Mark Ridgers.

By then Aberdeen looked like scoring every time they crossed the halfway line and Hayes supplied the finishing touch to a fine move involving McLean, Shay Logan and Rooney for No 4.

Christie notched his second of the afternoon with a sumptuous strike from 18 yards after being picked out by Andy Considine as Thistle stood back, unable or unwilling to do anything about it.

The home fans must have feared the worst when Wright completed his hat-track five minutes after the restart with a shot from the edge of the penalty area but, fortunately for them, Aberdeen were sated by that sixth goal.

As for Wright, he now harbours hopes of Hampden heroics.

“I’ve probably given myself the best chance of being involved,” he said. “I’ve been patient all season and obviously, with boys like Jonny and Niall McGinn, it’s going to be hard to budge them out of their slot in the team, especially when I think they are two of the most consistent players in the league, never mind the Aberdeen team.

“But if I’m given my chance then I’ll just try to do what I did today and give it my best.”