Scottish Premiership
Ross County4Partick Thistle0

Ross County 4-0 Partick Thistle

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Highlights: Ross County 4-0 Partick Thistle

Alex Schalk netted a hat-trick as Ross County thrashed Partick Thistle to move off bottom spot in the Premiership.

Schalk fired home the opening goal, then midfielder Ross Draper headed in a second before the break.

The Dutch striker slotted County's third on 56 minutes from Scott Fox's long ball and added a fourth with 28 minutes remaining.

The win is County's first in six matches and sends Thistle to the foot of the table on goal difference.

Alan Archibald's men are now without a victory in nine outings, and have a goal difference 11 inferior to that of the Staggies.

Schalk's treble took his tally for the season to 13 goals, and the former NAC Breda player continues to be the County talisman as the striker who scored their winner against Hibernian in the 2016 League Cup final sparked this vital triumph in their biggest game of the season so far.

Not that things get any easier for the Dingwall side - they host Neil Lennon's Hibs in the final game before the league split on Saturday - but it will be just as tough for Thistle, who welcome in-form Kilmarnock to Firhill on the same day.

It was the visitors who had the first clear chance, Conor Sammon's shot from four yards deflected wide by goalkeeper Scott Fox.

Ross Draper celebrates scoring County's second goal
Ross Draper, formerly of Inverness CT, found the net for the first time in the colours of rivals Ross County

County's best opportunities initially came from set-pieces but Harry Souttar failed to direct a close-range header on target from a Schalk corner, and Draper did likewise from Michael Gardyne's well-directed free-kick.

It was Schalk who produced a flourish of skill incongruous with the 35 fiercely-contested minutes that preceded his opener.

There seemed little danger when he picked up possession at the edge of the area but he cleverly worked some space for a shot that sped into the bottom-right corner of Ryan Scully's net.

The Jags goalkeeper, in from the start with Tomas Cerny injured, couldn't be faulted for that one but he has to shoulder the responsibility for the second strike four minutes from the interval.

Scully came out to intercept Schalk's corner from the left but missed the ball, allowing Draper to net his first goal for the club with an angled header.

Archibald introduced Chris Erskine and Blair Spittal for Ryan Edwards and Miles Storey at the break in a bid to spark a second-half revival, but it was Schalk who continued to dominate proceedings.

Alex Schalk bags his second goal of the evening
Schalk's composed finished put County three goals ahead

The little striker had a goal disallowed for offside before bursting clear up the inside-left channel and flashing his shot into the far corner of the net.

Schalk completed his hat-trick in the 72nd minute when Scully denied Marcus Fraser, but the rebound struck the Dutchman's thigh and flew high into the net.

It was County's biggest win of the season - in both margin of victory and significance - and their first since 4 November.

Line-ups

Ross County

  • 1Fox
  • 2Fraser
  • 32Fontaine
  • 5Souttar
  • 35Melbourne
  • 7GardyneSubstituted forDowat 77'minutes
  • 4Routis
  • 17Draper
  • 18LindsayBooked at 14mins
  • 10SchalkSubstituted forN'Gogat 81'minutes
  • 22MckaySubstituted forCurranat 73'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Dow
  • 11Curran
  • 14N'Gog
  • 24Dingwall
  • 25O'Brien
  • 31McCarey
  • 40Keillor-Dunn

Partick Thistle

  • 12Scully
  • 5KeownBooked at 65mins
  • 13Barton
  • 4Cargill
  • 14Elliott
  • 6Osman
  • 19EdwardsSubstituted forSpittalat 45'minutes
  • 37Woods
  • 16McGinnSubstituted forBoothat 69'minutes
  • 18Sammon
  • 39StoreySubstituted forErskineat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Booth
  • 7Spittal
  • 9Doolan
  • 10Erskine
  • 11Lawless
  • 23Sneddon
  • 24McCarthy
Referee:
William Collum
Attendance:
3,944

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamPartick Thistle
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home13
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home5
Away7
Fouls
Home10
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Ross County 4, Partick Thistle 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Ross County 4, Partick Thistle 0.

Callum Booth (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ryan Dow (Ross County).

Attempt saved. Harry Souttar (Ross County) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Callum Booth.

Baily Cargill (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by David N'Gog (Ross County).

Attempt blocked. Craig Curran (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Martin Woods (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ross Draper (Ross County).

Attempt missed. Martin Woods (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. David N'Gog replaces Alex Schalk.

Attempt missed. Ryan Dow (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Ryan Dow replaces Michael Gardyne.

Chris Erskine (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ross Draper (Ross County).

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Craig Curran replaces Billy McKay.

Goal!

Goal! Ross County 4, Partick Thistle 0. Alex Schalk (Ross County) with an attempt from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

Attempt missed. Alex Schalk (Ross County) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Marcus Fraser.

Substitution

Substitution, Partick Thistle. Callum Booth replaces Paul McGinn.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Blair Spittal.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Baily Cargill.

Booking

Niall Keown (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Niall Keown (Partick Thistle).

Alex Schalk (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Chris Erskine (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Abdul Osman (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Scott Fox.

Attempt saved. Blair Spittal (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Christie Elliott (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Ross County 3, Partick Thistle 0. Alex Schalk (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Scott Fox.

Attempt missed. Martin Woods (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.

Attempt saved. Jamie Lindsay (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Jamie Lindsay.

Foul by Blair Spittal (Partick Thistle).

Max Melbourne (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Alex Schalk (Ross County) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.

Attempt missed. Alex Schalk (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic31218262204271
2Aberdeen32195850341662
3Rangers32185963382559
4Hibernian321610648341458
5Kilmarnock31131084238449
6Hearts32101393330343
7Motherwell32107153643-737
8St Johnstone32107153247-1537
9Hamilton3186174156-1530
10Dundee3185183149-1829
11Ross County3267193756-1925
12Partick Thistle3267192656-3025
View full Scottish Premiership table

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