Trainspotting had just been released and Buzz Lightyear was the “must have” Christmas toy the last time Partick Thistle enjoyed a league victory at Fir Park 21 years ago, and it was a record which will continue past another festive season, with Motherwell winning at a canter.
The Jags, who have not managed a victory in their 11 previous Premiership clashes at Fir Park, never looked like ending their abysmal record at the Lanarkshire ground.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson was delighted with the way his team started. “I thought we came out the blocks really well and took our foot off the gas,” he said. “I gave them a rattle at half-time and our second half performance was excellent.
“We have boys who will throw their bodies on the line. We pride ourselves on our organisation and we are a hard team to breakdown. If you don’t concede goals you don’t lose games.
“We’ve started well and we have had a lot of home games. We are well aware we have a lot of away games coming up. It’s important to get points on the board at this stage and be as far away from the bottom as possible.”
Thistle had failed to keep a clean sheet in their past 13 league games and that dismal defensive record was to be further extended when Well made a sensational start when they took the lead after just six minutes. Louis Moult flicked the ball on for Ryan Bowman, who was flattened by goalkeeper Tomas Cerny as he raced out of the area, and was extremely fortunate to escape with just a yellow card from referee Greg Aitken.
Moult’s measured 19-yard free kick crashed back off the inside of the left hand post for Peter Hartley to react first and tap into the net from six yards.
Alan Archibald’s side, who are still looking for their first Premiership win of the campaign, were all at sea again after 11 minutes and should have gone two down when the ball broke to Moult. Cerny made a terrific save and Chris Cadden’s follow up was cleared off the line. The ball fell for Carl McHugh 18-yards out, but he hooked his effort just wide.
Thistle had failed to register an effort on or off target in the first period, but started the second half in a slightly more positive manner and in 50 minutes had a great opportunity when Allan Campbell whipped the legs from Blair Spittal just outside the box, but Spittal’s free-kick was well defended and came to nothing. It summed up the afternoon for the Jags.
Motherwell all but ensured the three points in 56 minutes when Richard Tait drilled in a superb low ball from the left for Craig Tanner to divert the ball in from eight yards for his second goal of the season.
Injury ravaged Thistle had Chris Erskine back after suspension and Conor Sammon available after sitting out the match against parent club Hearts, but both could only find a place on the bench, and were brought on early in the second half to try and spring a toothless attack to life, but added nothing.
Moult, who has already found the net nine times this season for Well, was desperate to add to his impressive tally and in 66 minutes the striker pushed the ball through Barton’s legs, but his 25-yard effort was well held low down by Cerny, one of his best efforts of an otherwise quiet afternoon by his high standards.
Well continued to press forward and in 80 minutes Cadden’s corner from the right fell for Cedric Kipre, but his low drive was deflected past by team-mate Andy Rose.
The third arrived eight minutes from time when Hartley brilliantly turned the Thistle defence with the Cryuff turn to set up Bowman to smash the ball high past Cerny from ten yards.
Dejected Archibald said: “I’m disappointed in the manner in which we lost the game. The start and the final goal typified our whole performance. We didn’t deal with the second balls.
“I thought with 30 minutes to go there was a bit of acceptance and I’ve not seen that since the first game of the season, and that was a surprise.
“The worst one was the third goal where the ball fell to Motherwell three times in the box. That’s hard to take.
“The lads will be in during the break, nothing will change. We need to find ways to win games and they will have to work hard to do that. The next game is going to be huge when we are at home to Kilmarnock.”