Match Report: Partick Thistle 5-0 Falkirk
Partick Thistle thrashed Falkirk 5-0 at Firhill to put the League 1 title race to bed, lifting the trophy and securing their promotion back to the Championship.
After two draws in two competitive matches between the sides already this season, this game was anything but competitive.
Three first half goals gave the Bairns a near impossible task in the second period where the hosts twice punished them on the counter attack to cap off a performance worthy of champions.
As for Falkirk, they now face Montrose on Saturday where a point will be enough to ensure a play-off place and a second chance at promotion.
The Bairns started the match with the same line up as drew 2-2 with Cove Rangers last Saturday but a change in formation saw Callumn Morrison move in to a striker position while Kai Fotheringham went out to the right wing.
The plan of attack was obvious from the early stages, get the former Hearts winger on the ball as early as possible and although Morrison was able to make the home defenders work to keep him at bay, it never really paid off.
Partick’s plan was just as straight forward, bombard the penalty are with balls in to the box. That did pay off.
Zak Rudden opened the scoring with a good header, hard and in to the ground after a Ryan Williamson cross, leaving Mutch no chance.
The former Bairn didn’t hold back in his celebrations either, knowing what the goal meant for his current side.
The hosts weren’t finished there though and had a second just two minutes later when a ball in to the box was cleared only as far as Scott Tiffoney and the Livingston loanee blasted a shot through the crowded penalty area and in for 2-0.
The third came not long before half time when Brian Graham struck a shot from 20 yards across the face of goal, Mutch looked like he had it covered but it managed to creep past him and in to the far side of the net.
Clearly a change was required and interim manager Gary Holt brought on Mark Durnan and Anton Dowds, both returning from injury, for Scott Mercer and Robbie Leitch.
The change to a more attacking formation did give Falkirk more options going forward but it also left the vulnerable to breakaways and the hosts were able to exploit that.
Brian Graham hit a fourth on 59 minutes, all alone at the back post and picked out by Rudden, before substitute Joe Cardle finished the game off once and for all as Mutch and Gary Miller collided with each other, and then the post, following a James Penrice effort which allowed the former Dunfermline man in for the final goal.
The players were forced to leave the pitch at full time to a background of celebrations, champagne popping and Queen playing on the speakers as they made the long walk up the stand to their make shift changing room in the hospitality lounge.
The title race might be done but, assuming they secure a play-off spot, promotion is still within reach.
It will be tough though, and confidence will play as key a role as anything in those pressure cooker fixtures, something the Bairns players seem desperately low on at the moment.