Manager Gary Caldwell hailed “superb” performances from Blair Spittal and Aidan Fitzpatrick as Partick Thistle were able to haul themselves off the bottom of the Scottish Championship and complete a calendar month undefeated.
Goals from Joe Cardle and Miles Storey in each half were enough to give the hosts a deserved victory against a Queen of the South side that had lost only once in 11 games going into this one. While 17-year-old Fitzpatrick impressed, the stand-out man of the match was Spittal, pictured. The former Dundee United attacker created both goals and another few opportunities before his substitution with 15 minutes remaining.
“We have some fantastic players in that final third area, people coming off the lines, creating problems,” said Caldwell. “They will only grow as the team becomes more solid, more reliable, more defensively sound, so then they can go express themselves. But Spittal and Fitzpatrick today were superb.”
Spittal’s 18-minute burst into the penalty area and cross to the far post helped give Thistle their lead. The delivery wasn’t dealt with by the Queen of the South defence, allowing Joe Cardle to fire home. Spittal was at his creative best again moments later, this time teeing up Kris Doolan to fire a shot at Alan Martin in the Queens’ goal. Less than 30 seconds later the midfielder was doing a turn at the other end of the park, halting Josh Todd with a perfectly-timed slide-tackle as the Queens’ midfielder bore down on goal.
The visitors only threatened through talismanic striker Stephen Dobbie. The veteran was denied by a smart stop from Conor Hazard early in the match and he went close a short time into the second period, firing wide of goal.
The hosts doubled the lead seven minutes later. Fitzpatrick played in Spittal and his low cross was bundled into the back of the net after Scott Mercer thumped his clearance right into Miles Storey.
Doolan had two chances to put the game out of sight. The Firhill favourite drew a save from Martin then saw a twisting header loop just wide.
The hosts were coasting but soon made life harder for themselves. Hazard couldn’t hold a strike from Connor Murray, and though the goalkeeper blocked Dobbie’s follow-up, it started a chain reaction which led to substitute Andrew McCarthy barging over Andrew Stirling. Dobbie tucked away the resulting spot-kick.
Caldwell’s side almost spared themselves a nervous injury-time finish when substitute Alistair Roy was able to net Fitzpatrick’s cross, but the linesman flagged for offside.