St Johnstone 1 - 0 Partick Thistle: Saints confirm European return
The winger will be playing for Hibernian next season but he enjoyed a standing ovation from grateful Perth fans after the Ladbrokes Premiership victory.
With Hearts losing in the lunchtime kick-off against Rangers, St Johnstone knew a point would secure fourth place and their fifth Europa League qualification in the past six years. But manager Tommy Wright was well aware the visitors had bagged victories in their previous four visits to McDiarmid Park and was demanding a home success.
Both sides created openings in the first half but the breakthrough came from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute when winger Swanson tucked away his 15th goal of the season.
Irish striker Graham Cummins held up the ball before playing it into the path of Swanson. Defender Danny Devine was lured into a mistimed challenge in the danger area and Swanson was sent flying. Referee Stephen Finnie immediately signalled a penalty and the home team’s top scorer added to his tally with a well executed effort.
Recalled home goalkeeper Alan Mannus had denied Australian Ryan Edwards earlier from a tight angle and fellow midfielder Adam Barton had headed wide of the target. But Liam Craig had shot past the post early on and Cummins slammed a shot wide before the opener, with Thistle duo Danny Devine and Edwards picking-up first-half cautions.
Thistle replaced Devine and Ade Azeez at the interval with Steven Lawless and Chris Erskine.
Visiting goalkeeper Tomas Cerny was tested again minutes after the interval by Craig from 20 yards before pulling off a stunning one-handed stop to divert Tam Scobbie’s header over the crossbar.
The Thistle shot-stopper ensured Perth nerves remained until the final whistle with a string of top-class saves.
He bravely dived at the feet of full-back Richard Foster after cute play by midfielder David Wotherspoon. Then he rose to tip a stunning Swanson strike over the crossbar in the 74th minute.
Before that, referee Finnie was at the centre of another controversial penalty call, when he waved away Paul Paton’s demand for a spot-kick when the midfielder appeared to have been bundled over by Lawless. But despite a late scare when Kris Doolan came close to a leveller, St Johnstone and their fans celebrated at the full-time whistle.