Already holding a commanding 3-0 advantage from last week’s first leg at Firhill, Kris Doolan’s team picked up where they left off in the return match in Ayrshire and led after just seven minutes when Jordan McMillan, on his 50th consecutive Partick appearance, headed in from close range. And any hope of Ayr staging an improbable comeback were extinguished when their top scorer Dipo Akinyemi was sent off for lashing out at Aaron Muirhead on 25 minutes.
Thistle showed no mercy against their bedraggled opponents, with Scott Tiffoney doubling the advantage two minutes later. The same player got his second goal of the match on 54 minutes before Stevie Lawless completed netted on 63 minutes and Kevin Holt headed home just before full-time to send out a warning to the team that finishes 11th in the top flight.
The identity of their opponent will be known by Sunday evening on the final day of the regular season. Dundee United, sitting bottom of the Premiership, are three points adrift of 11th place and will need to win away at Motherwell, hope that Ross County lose to Kilmarnock and then overturn an eight-goal deficit in the goal difference stakes to avoid automatic relegation. Therefore, it appears very likely that the Jags will play either the Staggies or Killie, who face each other at Rugby Park. The hosts are three points clear of the Highlanders but Ross County, with a superior goal difference, would condemn Kilmarnock – currently sitting in tenth place – to the play-offs should they prevail.
The first leg of the play-off final takes place at Firhill on Thursday, June 1 at 8pm, with the second leg on Sunday, June 4 at 4.30pm.