With Friday night’s clash against out-of-sorts Dunfermline Athletic being selected for television coverage, Partick Thistle went into the tie safe in the knowledge that a victory would see the hosts close the gap on top spot to just seven points.

Kris Doolan made two alterations to the starting XI that picked up a point in Inverness - an injury obtained by Jamie Sneddon in training meant an enforced change in goal with Ross Stewart being handed his Jags debut whilst key-man Jack McMillan shrugged off fitness concerns to replace Wasiri Williams at right-back.

The Jags started proceedings on the front foot and thought they had taken the lead after 12 minutes when Brian Graham had the ball in the back of the net, only to be denied the linesman’s flag. Lewis Neilson crossfield pass found full-back McMillan bombing down the line before picking out Graham unmarked at the back post when the assistant flagged for offside. A controversial call from the officials as McMillan looked level with the Pars backline.

Thistle’s early dominance would eventually pay off as the hosts broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark. That man Graham once again jogging on the spot as he headed home his 17th goal of the season after some excellent tenacity from Luke McBeth to keep the move alive on the edge of the area. A deserved lead for the Jags as the club captain notched his 70th competitive goal in red and yellow.

Goals against the run of play either side of half-time from Malachi Fagan-Walcott and Matty Todd had swung the game in favour of the visitors before further controversy threw the game into disrepute just shy of the hour mark. Harry Milne’s goalbound effort was deflected into the path of talisman Graham to prod home the Thistle equaliser. Remonstrations from Pars goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet led to a conversation between referee David Munro and his linesman which saw the officials overturn their original decision and rule the goal out for yet another offside. The Jags with every right to feel hard done by, having seen a second perfectly good goal disallowed, with replays showing the Jags No.9 to have been two yards onside.

With Thistle demoralised, James McPake’s side managed to rub salt in the wounds, grabbing a third goal through Cardiff loanee Xavier Benjamin to wrap up all three points - sending the hardy band of away supporters into ecstasy. A first win in 10 for the Pars that sees them move out of the relegation play-off place.

Typically coolheaded Doolan struggled to keep his emotions in check at full time with his frustration plain to see. The Jags boss was uncharacteristically brazen in his criticism of the poor officiating whilst remaining mindful his side never done enough on the night as they succumbed to their first defeat of 2024.

With games coming thick and fast, a midweek trip to Somerset Park was next on the Jags' agenda as they squared off against Scott Brown’s Ayr United.

The quick turnaround gave Thistle the perfect opportunity to bounce back but it was the hosts who took the lead against the run of play after only quarter of an hour.

Red-hot Graham had the Maryhill outfit level on 33 minutes as the league’s top marksman continued his rich vein of goalscoring form, nodding home a loose ball inside the six yard box to mark his 150th appearance in red and yellow.

A quickfire double from Oldham loanee Kurt Willoughby saw the Honest men make it 3-1 on the cusp of half-time. The Englishman making the most of Thistle’s defensive frailties to open his Ayr account.

Having given themselves a mountain to climb, the Jags would have to stage a second-half turnaround for the second time in as many weeks. A seventh goal of the season for Tomi Adeloye and an own-goal from Jack Sanders had Thistle back on level terms and the away side still had seven minutes plus injury time left to go on and find a winner.

However, Thistle’s defensive susceptibility reared its ugly head a mere 30 seconds later - Keeper Stewart having to pick the ball out his own net for the fourth time on the night after being beaten from range by a tame Harry McHugh effort. A sore one to take for the Jags who left Ayrshire empty handed having found the back of the net on three occasions.

So all in all it was a poor week for Doolan’s side, who continue to leak goals at an alarming rate despite being the division's top scorers. Having lost back-to-back league games for the first time during Doolan’s tenure, Thistle - whilst still wedged in third spot - now find themselves closer to the relegation play-off position than second place.