Tommy Wright hailed a moment of class from Oli Shaw for firing Kilmarnock within a point of league leaders Inverness – but there was an element of farce to the win at Firhill too.
Wright’s team took the lead when Fraser Murray’s cross was turned in by a combination of Kevin Holt and Richard Foster’s face for an own goal past Jamie Sneddon who had saved Shaw’s penalty moments earlier.
Sneddon had no chance as Shaw redeemed himself with a dipping half-volley from 20-yards to seal Kilmarnock’s second spot 15 minutes later.
“It was a top class goal, if you see that in the English Premier League they’d be raving about it because he’s under pressure and then fired it into the top corner,” said Wright whose side recorded a fifth clean sheet in six games. It says a lot about his quality, I brought him here to score goals and he’s doing everything right even outside of scoring so far.”
Firhill for thrills, you better believe it. It was mesmerising in Maryhill with two teams going toe-to-toe and trading blows from the first minute to last.
From the rip-snorting end-to-end opening with Zak Rudden and Scott Robinson each beating their respective offside traps and both denied by the opposition goalkeeper to manager Wright being Willie Collum’s first caution for kicking the ball away, the 4315-strong crowd daren’t take their eyes away as Thistle assumed control of the first half.
Yet for all their dominance it was Killie who had the best chances and their sizeable travelling support found their voice in the second half with much to cheer.
Against the run of play Shaw’s dancing feet threatened to round Sneddon on the half-hour but the goalkeeper did enough to keep him out.
Thistle continued to pressure Zach Hemming at the opposite end until the visitors almost hit a sucker-punch before the break. Holt sliced a clearance narrowly over his own bar and the resulting corner was cleared off the line by Ross Docherty at the front post. Dylan McGowan’s floated follow-up landed on the roof of the net.
After catching breath at half-time they did get their goal, but only after Shaw’s spurned chance from the penalty spot. Scott Robinson stepped round Lewis Mayo on the edge of the area after a sharp exchange of passes and the on-loan Rangers man, watched by sporting director Ross Wilson, was penalised though appealed for ref Collum to award a free-kick rather than point to the spot.
Sneddon met the spot-kick low to his right to lift a rousing cheer from the home support, but it was quickly silenced by the own goal and Shaw’s subsequent redemption.
Thistle boss Ian McCall said: “I didn’t think there was lot in the game but on chances Kilmarnock deserved to win. They were more streetwise than us. We had more possession, more corners and more shots at goal but we didn’t have any clear-cut chances.”
Elsewhere in the Championship… Leaders Inverness were held by Dunfermline at East End Park – the only home side to take points in the division this weekend. Arbroath kept up the chase with a 2-0 win at Queen of the South, while Jim Duffy led Ayr United to a similar score at Hamilton. Raith Rovers defeated Morton 1-0 at Cappielow.