Partick Thistle will take on Ayr United in the Scottish Premiership play-off semi-final after a comprehensive victory sealed an 8-3 aggregate win at Queen’s Park.
Scott Tiffoney completed a complex move with a close range finish and Kevin Holt hit the visitors’ third before halftime. Substitute Danny Mullen’s late header completed the scoring for Thistle.
Kris Doolan’s Jags remain in contention for a return to the top after a five-year absence. They will be at home against Ayr next Friday, with the return match the following Friday at Somerset Park. The winner will progress to meet the Premiership’s second bottom side.
Owen Coyle’s Spiders entered last Friday’s Championship decider with a chance of automatic promotion, but their eventual 5-3 loss to Dundee secured the title for the Taysiders. A loss in the play-offs means they miss out on a third straight promotion and first top-flight campaign since 1957-58.
Jake Davidson, a late inclusion in the Queen’s Park line-up following Jack Thomson’s injury in the warm-up, went clear early on but his shot was stopped and the follow-up was cleared off the line .
Visitors have capitalized. Kyle Turner’s corner picked Graham perfectly, the striker’s shot from the left of the box reaching powerfully into the net.
Steven Lawless released Jack McMillan to cross for Tiffoney in the penalty area and a simple finish dealt another fatal blow to Queen’s Park hopes.
But Thistle wasn’t done. Graham’s descending header from another Turner delivery was prevented by goalie Calum Ferrie and Holt’s shins forced on the rebound.
Ferrie was called back into action moments later, another Graham header well saved as the beleaguered home defense chased away the shadows.
High scores have been a hallmark of recent games at Queen’s Park and they needed four just to force extra time.
Tiffoney had a shot blocked before any significant prospect of a home goal, goalkeeper David Mitchell tipping a cross from substitute Josh McPake for a corner.
Malachi Boateng also threatened, but couldn’t direct his shot on target.
No comeback was expected and, after Aidan Fitzpatrick’s shot was saved, Mullen was on hand to nod off the line for Thistle’s fourth and eighth overall in the tie.