PARTICK THISTLE manager Ian McCall was 'delighted' after his side's victory against Hamilton at the Fountain of Youth Stadium, but feels his team 'can play better.'

The result sees the Jags keep their lead at the top of the Scottish Championship, albeit on goal difference.

"Ultimately, I am delighted we got the three points, as it was a tough game.

"It was a big victory for us. We did not play well. There were stages of the game when we looked dangerous, such as on the counter-attack in the second half.

"However, we know we can play a lot better than that, and we will do that next Saturday.

It was a substitution from the Thistle boss that led to his team coming away as the victors.

He brought on midfielder Scott Tiffoney with 30 minutes to go, and he scored a fabulous winning goal.

McCall was full of praise for the player after the match.

He continued: "He was always going to come on, it was just a matter of when and he did very well.

"A player of his quality gives everyone a lift. We just need to get him fit."

In the opening exchanges, neither team could properly get a grip on the game.

The first real opportunity came 13 minutes in when Accies midfielder Jonathan Ngandu skipped by two Thistle defenders to find himself one on one with goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon, who pulled off an excellent save to keep the match level.

Moments later and it was almost the away team who got the first goal when a Steven Lawless cross was first headed off the post by Jags centre-back Kevin Holt and then on loan Rangers player Cole McKinnon forced a save from Hamilton shot-stopper Ryan Fulton with the rebound. 

The Firhill team grew into the game, and they began to control possession as the first half continued.

Their dominance was rewarded 32 minutes in when striker Brian Graham slotted home from a set piece after a chipped ball in from Aiden Fitzpatrick was headed back across goal by Aaron Muirhead, and the 34-year-old was there to finish it calmly.

Accies did threaten a couple of times before the end of the first 45 minutes, with two dangerous crosses, but it was the visitors who went into the break 1-0 up. 

There were no changes at half-time for either side, and soon after the second phase of play began, the home team were level.

Centre-forward Andy Ryan smashed home his fourth goal of the season from close range to tie the match at 1-1.

The equaliser seemed to give the Lanarkshire club confidence as for ten or so minutes after they drew level, they enjoyed their best spell of the game.

However, the league leaders remained agile and went back in front on the 63rd minute, thanks to a fantastic finish by substitute Tiffoney.

The former Livingston man picked up the ball from a short corner, cut inside and fired a powerful shot into the net.

It was a moment of real quality in a fixture which was lacking it.

Thistle were in complete control of the game from when they scored, and it could have been 3-1 in the last 10 minutes when substitute Anton Dowds put an attempt wide.

Before the end, though, the home team had a couple of chances.

Firstly, when Ryan was played in behind, but he blazed his shot over the bar.

Then there was a moment of magic from the Jags keeper Sneddon, who saved from the Accies striker's attempt at point-blank range.

The end result of 2-1 shows that the teams were relatively close on the pitch today,  however, in terms of the league table, they could not be further apart.

Hamilton boss John Rankin cut a frustrated figure at full-time as the Lanarkshire club slumped to their fourth defeat in a row.

He said: "Based on the performance, I am disappointed not to take something from the game.

"We created plenty of chances and have been doing so for numerous weeks now, we have to start taking them.

"We also need to be better at defending set pieces, we lose both goals from set pieces today and we have to be more tuned in.

"While the result was disappointing, the performance was not.

"How we played in the second half shows we can get out of the situation we currently find ourselves in."