JIM GOODWIN was delighted after watching his side see off Partick Thistle in their opening Betfred Cup fixture to arrest a run of six straight league defeats – but conceded that the 4-1 scoreline probably flattered the Paisley club.

A diving header from Richard Tait gave the Premiership side the advantage going into the break and while a Blair Spittal equaliser looked to have sparked a comeback from the Jags, a late collapse from the visitors ensured a comfortable victory for Goodwin’s men.

“We won’t get a huge amount of credit for tonight,” said the Irishman after the final whistle. “We were the Premiership team playing against lower league opposition. Everybody expects us to turn up and win the game comfortably.

“The scoreline will suggest that to people that weren’t here but Partick were excellent on the night and they deserve a huge amount of credit.”

Thistle manager Ian McCall was bullish after the match, insisting that his side were on top for significant spells of the game.

“If it had been 4-1 to us it wouldn’t have flattered us,” he insisted.

“It’s not often you come to a Premiership team and have 13 good chances. For our first game of the season we were terrific – it’s just a poor result.

“We want to do well in this cup and if we had come off 2-1, I would have been gutted. And 4-1 is a totally false reflection of the game.”

The home side started the game strongly and tested Jamie Sneddon early on with a couple of speculative efforts as they looked to capitalise on the high line employed by the Jags but the visitors were a threat themselves on the counter.

A strong hand from Jak Alnwick denied Shea Gordon after the midfielder sprung clear of the St Mirren back line for a one-on-one before Brian Graham came within inches of nudging his side in front. The veteran centre-forward got on the end of a Joe Cardle free-kick from deep and rolled the ball past Alnwick, only for a last-gasp intervention from Marcus Fraser to stop it trickling over the line.

Lee Erwin and Jon Obika provided plenty of industry up top for the home side but they perhaps suffered from a lack of guile at times as they struggled to fashion clear-cut opportunities in the game’s opening exchanges.

Thistle grew in confidence as the first half wore on, becoming ever more sure of themselves in their first competitive outing since March. They may have been up against an opponent with two months of Premiership games under their belts and two divisions to separate them but there was little between the two teams, with each of them giving as good as they got.

The visitors started to crank up the pressure as the half wore on. A superb block from Richard Tait denied Stuart Bannigan when the midfielder looked to be through on goal and only an excellent low save from Alnwick from the subsequent corner kept Graham off the scoresheet as Thistle searched for an opener.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, the breakthrough arrived for St Mirren. Jamie McGrath looped a corner into the box and Tait stooped low to throw himself headfirst at the ball to nestle it in the back of the net.

To their credit, Thistle came out for the second half with a renewed sense of determination about them. They almost pulled level but a teasing ball into the box was just too far ahead of Gordon’s run; any contact whatsoever would have surely resulted in an equaliser but the ball was just beyond the Northern Irishman’s outstretched leg.

The visitors would soon be rewarded for their exertions. McGrath struck the woodwork with 25 minutes to play and the Buddies midfielder was left ruing his miss moments later when substitute Blair Spittal got on the end of a break forward and drilled a low effort into the bottom corner to restore parity.

Docherty flashed a header across the face of goal following a Murray corner and Erwin went close for the Buddies as both sides threw caution to the wind before Obika struck the decisive blow.

Kyle McAllister threaded a wonderful through ball beyond the backline for Obika to chase and the striker did well to drive into the box, pick his spot and tuck the ball beyond the despairing hands of Sneddon.

The floodgates were now open. Some haphazard defending from a set-piece saw Joe Shaughnessy force the ball in via a defections off Rhys Breen and from the resulting kick-off, Dylan Connelly made the most of a quick transition to burst free of the static defenders, chip the ball beyond Sneddon and wrap up the win for the Saints as Goodwin’s men saw the game out with minimal fuss.