Match ends, Ayr United 0, Partick Thistle 1.
Partick Thistle move out of the relegation play-off place and up to sixth in the Scottish Championship after a win over third-top Ayr United.
Shea Gordon's early strike means there are now only three points between Dunfermline Athletic in fifth and second-bottom Alloa Athletic.
On-loan Motherwell midfielder Gordon fired his third goal of season as Thistle had better first-half chances.
Ayr improved after the break but slump to a third consecutive defeat.
Ian McCall's side remain above Inverness Caledonian Thistle on goal difference having already secured a place in the promotion play-offs but clearly missed injured top scorer Lawrence Shankland.
Thistle, now unbeaten in five, move above Greenock Morton, Queen of the South and Alloa, with Falkirk now three points adrift at the bottom.
The victory for Gary Caldwell's side drags Dunfermline into the battle to avoid a relegation play-off spot with two games remaining.
Thistle, for whom striker Kris Doolan made a 400th appearance as a substitute, host Ayr in their next match on Saturday but could have to do without Scott McDonald after the veteran former Australia striker went off with suspected concussion.
Ayr United manager Ian McCall: "It looked like a team fighting for their lives against a team going into the play-offs.
"We were hamstrung by what we could pick, with a lot of big players out, and there were a couple of contentious decisions - we felt it was a clear penalty in the first half and it looked like a foul on goalkeeper Ross Doohan at the goal.
"But Thistle deserved the three points. They fought really hard, they got their goal and that set them up to play on the counter-attack.
"We've got to make a decision about whether we want to try to win a couple of games or be fresh and fit for the play-offs - that was six of our players out tonight."
Partick Thistle manager Gary Caldwell: "Fantastic character, togetherness, spirit to come, in the position we are in, and perform like we did in the first half and then dig in when Ayr are always going to put you under pressure and we saw that out fairly comfortably.
"So it's a fantastic result and we have to recover now and build again for Saturday."
- 27SmithBooked at 64mins
- 18MurdochSubstituted forForrestat 71'minutes
- 8CrawfordBooked at 41minsSubstituted forMcCowanat 83'minutes
- 28CaddenSubstituted forMcDaidat 45'minutes
- 21FitzpatrickSubstituted forSpittalat 58'minutes
- 11HarkinsBooked at 67mins
- 32CardleSubstituted forStoreyat 73'minutes
- 10McDonaldSubstituted forDoolanat 35'minutes
- Alan Newlands
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ayr United 0, Partick Thistle 1.
Attempt missed. Calvin Miller (Ayr United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.
Foul by Daniel Harvie (Ayr United).
Blair Spittal (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Michael Rose (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Miles Storey (Partick Thistle).
Attempt missed. Blair Spittal (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.
Attempt blocked. Mark Kerr (Ayr United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Ayr United. Luke McCowan replaces Robbie Crawford.
Daniel Harvie (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Blair Spittal (Partick Thistle).
Attempt blocked. Miles Storey (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Robbie Crawford.
Attempt blocked. Miles Storey (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Shea Gordon (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Daniel Harvie (Ayr United).
Substitution, Partick Thistle. Miles Storey replaces Joe Cardle.
Substitution, Ayr United. Alan Forrest replaces Andy Murdoch.
Michael Moffat (Ayr United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.