Queen of the South 0 - 3 Partick Thistle: Queens slip to play-offs as Jags survive

Partick's Stuart Bannigan makes it 3-0 from the spot. Pic: SNS/Sammy Turner
Partick's Stuart Bannigan makes it 3-0 from the spot. Pic: SNS/Sammy Turner
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Partick Thistle manager Gary Caldwell was insistent there was no joy in simply surviving in the Championship as his side consigned Queen of the South to the play-offs with a dominant display.

Thistle, relegated from the Premiership last season, came up trumps when required and ended up finishing the season in sixth position. Queens will now face Montrose over two legs.

However, while he was delighted with the resilience of the players he does not want to endure this scenario again.

“There’s no joy in finishing sixth,” Caldwell said. “I didn’t come here to finish sixth. I came here to be successful and get this team back 
in the Premiership where they belong.

“There’s relief because the position we were in just after Christmas was pretty grim, but we’ve stuck together as a club and the ones who have come in have galvanised the group.

“Every one of those players can be proud of how they performed since January, they deserve a lot of credit.”

Thistle never really looked in any kind of trouble after taking the lead in 14 minutes.

Blair Spittal’s ball in from the left fell nicely for Lewis Mansell and while Jack Leighfield made a decent block on the striker’s first effort he was helpless as Mansell slammed the rebound high into the net.

It was a timely moment for the Blackburn loanee to score his first goal for the club.

The only surprise was it took Thistle until just before half-time to find their second goal.

There may have been an element of fortune about Thistle’s second goal just before half-time but, like all good strikers, Scott McDonald was in the right place at the right time.

Spittal again was at the heart of it all as he worked the angle on the right and drove the ball low into the danger area. Scott Mercer tried to clear the ball but only succeeded in thumping it straight at McDonald who stuck out a leg and diverted it back past Leighfield and into the net.

Queens had nothing to offer in reply and Thistle netted a third goal in 73 minutes when Stuart Bannigan slotted a penalty after McDonald had been brought down by Barry Maguire.

The problem for Queen of the South manager Gary Naysmith now is how to lift is players back to the levels needed for the two-leg semi-final with Montrose.

He said: “I’m not going to make excuses, it was the worst performance off the season.

“Partick Thistle thoroughly deserved their victory. They wanted it more and I’m at a loss why we put in such a poor performance. We got what we deserved.

“Our form since February has led to us being in the play-offs. My job is to get the players ready to play Montrose and they are a team on the crest of a wave.

“They are going to be extremely difficult games because we’re going into them on a bad run of form and they’re going into them on a great run of form.

“I am more worried about why it happened. I can take responsibility for shape and playing Nicky Low which didn’t work.

“But we seemed lifeless and without energy so all of us have a lot of making up to do.

“We let the supporters down and we have to rise to the challenge.”