Ayr United 0 – 5 Partick

Partick Thistle continued their scoring streak to reach the cinch Premiership play-off final with a 5-0 win over 10-man Ayr at Somerset Park.

Scott Tiffoney hit twice and Jack McMillan, Steven Lawless and Kevin Holt were also on target as the Jags cruised to an 8-0 victory.

Championship side Ayr had top scorer Dipo Akinyemi sent off to spoil the play off challenge for both the player and the club.

With Thistle taking on either Kilmarnock or Ross County in the final of the two legs, the Staggies need a win at Rugby Park on Sunday to avoid a difficult hurdle to stay in the top flight.

The Jags have scored 16 goals in four games and lost just once in 17 games since Kris Doolan took over.

Although the fourth-placed side in the Championship have never won the play-offs, Thistle now have two more days’ rest than their opponents before next Thursday’s game after having a full week between both games against Ayr.

Partick Thistle’s Scott Tiffoney made it 3-0

Ayr midfielder Reece McAlear was beaten early on but the sting was taken out of the game in the seventh minute when McMillan grabbed his third goal of the competition.

The right-back gave the impetus to move and run into the box and his cross eventually fell to Aidan Fitzpatrick, whose shot was blocked by Ayr goalkeeper Charlie Albinson. McMillan is well placed to shake up the lineup again.

There were chances at either end in the next few minutes but Thistle looked the more dangerous team and the home team’s slim hopes were dashed in the 25th minute when Akinyemi was sent off.

AYR, SCOTLAND - MAY 26: Partick Thistle's Aaron Muirhead falls behind after being pushed by Ayr's Dipo Akinyemi during the Cinch Premiership Play-Off Semi Final match between Ayr United and Partick Thistle at Somerset Park, May.  26, 2023, in Ayr, Scotland.  (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group)
Dipo Akinyemi was sent off for attacking Aaron Muirhead

The striker, who missed the first leg due to illness, was furious when he was tackled by Aaron Muirhead and tried to push the back.

The man whose 24 goals earned him the PFA Scotland Championship player of the year award caught a defender in the face with his arm and Muirhead went down and received treatment.

Referee Colin Steven took a long time to award his penalty but Akinyemi was already walking towards the road before he was shown the red card.

Ayr manager Lee Bullen didn’t seem to agree and pointed the finger at someone on the pitch. His heart swelled two minutes later as Thistle extended their lead in attack.

AYR, SCOTLAND - MAY 26: Kevin Holt of Partick Thistle celebrates after scoring 5-0 during the Cinch Premier Play-Off Semi Final match between Ayr United and Partick Thistle at Somerset Park, May 26, 2023, in Ayr, Scotland.  (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group)
Kevin Holt finished the race with Partick fifth

Fitzpatrick broke down the left, took his time and picked out Tiffoney at the far post to tap home. The former Ayr loanee celebrated by putting his finger to his mouth in front of the home support.

Albinson saved one from Brian Graham before Tiffoney added another goal in the 54th minute. A wonderful first-time pass from Lawless sent McMillan down the right and his low cross was turned home from six yards.

Lawless struck in the 63rd minute to finish after Albinson had latched on to Holt’s cross.

Substitutes Anton Dowds, twice, and Danny Mullen missed good chances for the visitors before Holt headed in Kyle Turner’s 88th-minute corner.

What‘s next?

Ayr will now play either Ross County or Kilmarnock in the final, they remain Sky Sports. The first tour is on Thursday, starting at 8pm.

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