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Dumbarton 2 Partick Thistle 0: Solid as a rock

There is a ramshackle old hut in one corner of Dumbarton's Bet Butler Stadium (which, rather disappointingly, has been named after an online betting company rather than a character in Gone With the Wind) that could have come straight from the pages of Fifty Sheds of Grey.

It is an incongruous piece of architecture in an otherwise tidy and modern ground, but it still seems a fittingly clapped-out symbol for football in this part of the world.

Or at least it did at the start of this remarkably entertaining affair. Looking down the Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division table you would have found Dumbarton locked at the bottom, while looking out from their main (well, only) stand you would have surveyed a scene of decay more post-apocalyptic than post-industrial in nature. At its finish, Dumbarton were still propping up the table and there had been no noticeable signs of urban regeneration over the course of 90 minutes, but things somehow looked a lot brighter for the Sons of the Rock.

A yes, the rock. That mighty outcrop of grey granite overlooking the Clyde that has acted as a beacon to seafarers, viking invaders and, for the past 13 years, football fans who were looking for a spot of entertainment in these parts. In truth, the vikings were probably more successful on that front than many football followers have been, but the Dumbarton faithful were certainly not complaining as they filed out of the ground at the end.

The presence of the rock allows Dumbarton to claim that their ground is the most scenically situated in Scotland. It's an argument that stands up only until you get inside the place, for with a typically Scottish twist of perversity, the inside of the Bet Butler Stadium is about the only place in Dumbarton that does not afford a view of the town's celebrated lump of geology. Instead, the view is of almost unremitting dereliction, framed by the broad sweep of the River Leven with its brown sludge banks exposed by the receding tide.

It is, in short, a good place to stage a mugging. Which is exactly what Dumbarton did in this match, catching Partick Thistle with an early, and rather comic, goal, before rubbing salt in the Maryhill side's gaping wounds with a second-half strike, again against the run of play, that finished off the job quite nicely.

It was, by any sensible measure, an absurd result. Thistle came into the game riding high in the league, just two points behind pacesetters Dunfermline, while not one of Dumbarton's three SFL victories to date had been registered on home soil. Thistle also looked sharp and eager from the off, while the best you would say of Dumbarton was that they demonstrated a certain sturdiness in defence.

That pattern never really changed greatly over the course of the match. Yes, Dumbarton came more into things after the break, and Thistle looked more and more frustrated as time went on. Had the game been decided on possession then Thistle would have run out 12-0 winners, but as guts and obduracy and pride played a part in this game, then it produced exactly the right result.

Remarkably, it was manager Ian Murray's third win in four league outings. Even more remarkably, the sides vanquished have been Falkirk, Morton and now Thistle, all of them contenders for whatever form of promotion is on the table at the season's end.

The dapper Murray, who passed his playing days with such sides as Rangers, Hibs and Norwich, must have wondered what he was doing when he pitched up in Dumbarton a couple of months ago. The only answer to that question is that he is doing it rather well.

"It's purely down to confidence," said Murray at the finish. "When I came in, confidence was really low. I don't think they believed they should be in this division, but they have shown me and everyone else that they are capable. If they had started the league like this they would be pushing for the SPL."

That it was not to be Thistle's day was first indicated when Dumbarton goalkeeper Jamie Ewings pulled off a string of outstanding saves in the first 20 minutes.

That period ended when Scott Agnew whipped a free kick into the Thistle box, Alan Lithgow headed it against a post and it rebounded back off the hapless Conrad Balatoni, who knocked it into his own net.

Ewings departed with a calf strain near the end of the half, but Stephen Grindlay, his replacement, was just as good. Thistle's lack of direction and ham-fistedness in front of goal was punished in the 63rd minute when Dumbarton attacked on the counter, Jim Lister flicked on a cross from Steven McDougall, and Bryan Prunty hammered home.

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