On a day when Partick Thistle unveiled a mural of club legend Davie McParland, the Jags produced a performance their 1971 Scottish League Cup-winning manager would certainly have been proud of.
Ian McCall’s side ended a run of three straight Championship defeats in emphatic style as they routed Ayr United 4-0 at Firhill, courtesy of a brace from Zak Rudden and further goals from Cammy Smith and Brian Graham.
It was exactly the type of response McCall was looking for from his players after a disappointing run which saw them concede eight goals during the month of September.
He said: “It was a really good, clinical performance. I thought we deserved our two-goal lead in the first half, but our second half performance was excellent.
“We passed the ball really well throughout and it was built from (Ross) Docherty and (Stuart) Bannigan, who I thought were outstanding.
“I thought the balance of the team was really good, we defended well, and it was pleasing to get a clean sheet. We fully merited the end score line.
“I think that’s roughly 25 games Zak and Brian have played up front together, and they’ve scored around 30 goals now.
“It was my decision to leave Zak out the team last weekend, but after his display today I think we’ll stick with him now!
“We haven’t been far away over the past few games. I said to the players if they want to get into the play-off at the very least they need to win five games every quarter and that’s us got four now.
“The league is going to tighten up, there’s no doubt about it.”
Thistle chairwoman Jacqui Low joined members of McParland’s family outside the ground prior to kick-off to reveal a fitting tribute of their former player and manager.
The match took a while to kick into gear but eventually sprung to life in the 33rd minute when Scott Tiffoney’s dangerous delivery from the left was met by former Rangers striker Zak Rudden, who steered a header into the bottom corner of the net.
The Jags doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time as Brian Graham received the ball on the by-line before clipping a delightful cross over to Cammy Smith, who guided a front-post header past stranded Ayr keeper Charlie Albinson to mark his first goal for the club.
Thistle continued from where they left of at the start of the second half with the influential Tiffoney’s thunderous drive from 20-yards forcing Albinson to tip the ball behind for a corner.
The Tiffoney-Rudden combination once again linked up to great effect with 20 minutes remaining as the latter killed any hopes of an Ayr comeback, flicking Tiffoney’s cross at the back-post over the poorly positioned Albinson into the net.
The visitors’ misery was compounded in the 84th minute when Graham stepped inside before curling an effort from the edge of the box past the outstretched keeper to notch his ninth goal in 13 games.
It was not the start new Ayr United boss Jim Duffy was looking for, following his appointment earlier this week, as they dropped to seventh place in the table.
He said: “We were very poor and Thistle ran out worthy winners. We played okay for the first half an hour but once the first goal went in, we fell really flat and allowed them to dictate the game.”
Partick Thistle: Sneddon, Foster, Holt, Mayo, Tiffoney, Bannigan, Graham, Rudden (Murray; 76), Smith (Hastie; 74), Akinola, Docherty (Turner; 81)
Unused: McCready (GK), Gordon, McKenna, MacIver
Ayr United: Albinson, Reading, Muirhead, McGinty, Murdoch, Moffat (Salkeld; 69), Adeloye, Baird, McAllister, Chalmers (Afolabi; 69), Fjortoft (Maxwell; 54)
Unused: McAdams (GK), Ecrepont
Referee: Duncan Williams
Attendance: 2,667 (407 away)