Thistle sting United
Partick Thistle shocked Dundee United with a well-deserved Premiership win at Tannadice to lift themselves seven points clear of relegation.
Alan Archibald’s side secured a much-needed victory thanks to goals from Stephen O’Donnell and an own goal awarded against Jaroslaw Fojut towards the end of the first half at Tannadice.
But for United it was the last result they had wanted before taking on Celtic in next Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final tie.
Ryan McGowan became the first player to be booked by referee Greg Aitken in the 14th minute for a late lunge on Christie Elliott as the visitors made a bright start.
Thistle were more than holding their own against the League Cup finalists and Stuart Bannigan played the ball through to Lyle Taylor, who manged to get his shot away but ended up firing straight at Radoslaw Cierzniak in the home goal.
The visitors went forward again as the half-hour mark approached, with Bannigan’s weighted pass inviting Taylor to dart towards goal, but Cierzniak denied him by racing off his line to clear.
United were living dangerously at the back and Cierzniak was called into action again when James Craigen opted to try his luck from distance, forcing the Polish keeper to gather.
But they were not to be denied a breakthrough as the Firhill side deservedly went ahead on 35 minutes.
A flowing move which began with keeper Paul Gallacher was sealed when Taylor cutely back-heeled the ball into the path of O’Donnell on the edge of the penalty area.
As Paul Paton attempted to close him down, O’Donnell worked a clever side-step before curling with his left foot high into Cierzniak’s opposite corner for a great opener.
And the visitors went 2-0 ahead six minutes later.
Kallum Higginbotham’s corner eluded the stationary United defence and eventually crossed the line when a deflection left Cierzniak helpless, with both Fojut and McGowan in attendance.
United attempted to inject some life into their play early in the second half with the introduction of substitute Henri Anier at the expense of Charlie Telfer, but the pattern remained the same with Thistle looking the more likely team to add to their tally.
Again Taylor got the better of the United defence in 55 minutes, turning Sean Dillon before angling a shot low narrowly wide of the target.
Any chances created were by the visitors who mounted another attack with 20 minutes remaining, O’Donnell starting the move which ended with Bannigan’s shot from the left fizzing past Cierzniak’s far post.
United did carve out a rare opening in the 77th minute as substitute Mario Bilate put through Anier, but he couldn’t keep his effort on target.
That more or less summed up the home team’s afternoon and in injury time Anier fired high over the bar from Ciftci’s cross, ensuring the visitors left delighted with their efforts.