Scottish Premiership
Ross CountyRoss County1Partick ThistlePartick Thistle0

Ross County 1-0 Partick Thistle

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland at Victoria Park

Ross County secured their place in the Premiership's top six with victory over Partick Thistle.

And Alex Schalk's early strike consigned Thistle to the bottom half of the table for the season run-in.

Schalk turned on to his right foot and fired a firm effort low to Ryan Scully's right to hand Jim McIntyre's side a crucial advantage.

The Dutch striker almost created a decisive second when he teed up Brian Graham only for Gary Miller to block.

Interviews: McIntyre and Archibald

Thistle knew an equaliser might be enough for them to finish in the top six and came close through Mathias Pogba and Kris Doolan but Alan Archibald's side will have to settle for being comfortably clear of a relegation fight.

Ross County add a top-half finish to their Scottish League Cup triumph in what's proving to be a very successful season.

Schalk makes the difference again

Ross County players celebrating
Schalk (left) joined County in January

Both sides knew a win was the most likely route to their ambition of getting above seventh before the split and it was the home side who seized the initiative with an early opener.

Forward Schalk showed great confidence when he picked up possession in an inside left position and smashed a low shot past Scully.

It was his eighth strike since arriving in January and proved to be another vital contribution after his late League Cup final winner against Hibernian last month.

Thistle tried to respond when Abdul Osman nodded towards the back post but the onrushing Pogba was offside when he tried to connect.

Schalk seemed central to most positive County moments and did superbly to escape down the left. As the angle got too tight he laid the ball into the path of the onrushing Graham, who tried to place a low shot across Scully, but Miller positioned himself wonderfully to snuff out the danger.

Almost instantly, Dundee fell behind to Hamilton Academical in South Lanarkshire and all of a sudden County were in pole position for that top-six place.

A timely reminder arrived when Ryan Edwards tried to curl a shot beyond Scott Fox, which the keeper palmed narrowly over whilst appearing to be slightly unsighted by the sun.

Schalk seemed at the top of his game and almost netted again when he fired another low effort narrowly past. He was sharp and threatening every time he gathered possession throughout the first half.

Thistle started the second period very positively with Pogba watching his close range header palmed away and Edwards failing to hit the target with a diving header.

Callum Booth looked like he had broken through but Fox raced off his line brilliantly to gather before substitute Doolan shot straight at the keeper from close range.

Booth had a claim for a penalty dismissed as County held out in a nervy finale.

Line-ups

Ross County

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Fox
  • 2Fraser
  • 43Quinn
  • 15Davies
  • 44McLaughlinSubstituted forFranksat 65'minutes
  • 7Gardyne
  • 26Woods
  • 18MurdochBooked at 45mins
  • 12Foster
  • 9GrahamSubstituted forBoyceat 56'minutes
  • 23SchalkSubstituted forMcShaneat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Robertson
  • 8McShane
  • 10Boyce
  • 13Konopka
  • 17Franks
  • 24De Vita
  • 25Goodwillie

Partick Thistle

Formation 4-3-3

  • 12Scully
  • 15Dumbuya
  • 2MillerBooked at 75mins
  • 3SeaborneBooked at 84mins
  • 5Booth
  • 6Osman
  • 19Edwards
  • 4WelshSubstituted forNesbittat 75'minutes
  • 7AmooSubstituted forNisbetat 69'minutes
  • 99PogbaSubstituted forDoolanat 57'minutes
  • 11LawlessBooked at 82mins

Substitutes

  • 9Doolan
  • 14Elliott
  • 16Nesbitt
  • 17Lindsay
  • 18Wilson
  • 27Nisbet
  • 35Gallacher
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
3,603

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamPartick Thistle
Possession
Home39%
Away61%
Shots
Home7
Away10
Shots on Target
Home4
Away5
Corners
Home0
Away5
Fouls
Home16
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Ross County 1, Partick Thistle 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Ross County 1, Partick Thistle 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kris Doolan (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Liam Boyce (Ross County).

  5. Post update

    Gary Miller (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Martin Woods (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Kris Doolan (Partick Thistle).

  8. Post update

    Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

  9. Post update

    Abdul Osman (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Michael Gardyne (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Martin Woods (Ross County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  12. Booking

    Danny Seaborne (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Danny Seaborne (Partick Thistle).

  15. Post update

    Foul by Andrew Davies (Ross County).

  16. Post update

    Abdul Osman (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Post update

    Marcus Fraser (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Danny Seaborne (Partick Thistle).

  19. Booking

    Steven Lawless (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Ian McShane (Ross County).

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