IT’S no secret that many Partick Thistle fans would probably rather forget most of the last year or so. Between the club’s doomed court case, the injustice surrounding their enforced demotion to the third tier and the injury crisis that plagued Ian McCall’s side during the first half of the campaign, the red-and-yellow contingent of Glasgow has not had its problems to seek.

But for 90 minutes last night, it was all worth it. The Jags went into their title decider with Falkirk knowing a win would provide a slither of redemption for a support that have had it worse than most over the last 12 months, and when the full-time whistle rang out around Firhill few could begrudge the players their ecstatic celebrations.

On paper, it looked like last night’s contest would be a cagey affair between two relatively evenly-match sides. The reality was altogether different as Thistle swept their opponents away with ease, wrapping up the League One title with one game left to play and sealing their return to the Championship.

There was no shortage of industry from either side as the game got off to a frenetic start. The two sets of players were both looking to seize the initiative and play on the font foot – hardly a surprise, given what was at stake.

The first chance of real note fell the way of Thistle’s James Penrice, who found himself starting in unfamiliar territory out on the right wing. A Jags corner was successfully repelled by Falkirk as the ball dropped to Penrice on the edge of the area, but the 22-year-old’s raking shot was easily smothered by Robbie Mutch.

Penrice stung the shot-stopper’s palms with a venomous effort from the edge of the area as the Jags began to turn the screw. Scott Tiffoney was next to have a go, drifting past the last man as he broke into the box, but his low shot cut back across goal lacked the sufficient guile to beat Mutch.

There was a small contingent of Thistle supporters situated on the canal just behind Firhill, where a hundred or so fans watched on to catch a glimpse of their heroes in action. With the clock approaching the half-hour mark, they were sent into rapturous celebration. Ryan Williamson barreled down the right wing before floating a delicate cross in towards Zak Rudden, who made no mistake as he glanced the ball in at the far post.

Thistle’s tails were up now and within minutes they had doubled their advantage. A corner for the home side was initially cleared but the ball rolled invitingly towards the edge of the area where Tiffoney was waiting. The on-loan Livingston man had a quick glance up before rattling the ball through the throng of bodies between himself and the goal to put Ian McCall’s men in the driving seat in the title race.

If there were any lingering doubts over the result, they were removed in emphatic fashion by Graham five minutes before half-time. The 32-year-old created some space with some neat footwork and once he had a sight of goal, there was only ever going to be one outcome as Graham lashed the ball past Mutch from the edge of the area and into the side-netting to make it 3-0.

Calumn Morrison went close to reducing the arrears shortly before the interval in what was Falkirk’s best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes, but the forward’s glanced header whistled by the far post.

Falkirk regrouped a little after the restart but in truth, the damage was already done. Thistle were still fashioning goalscoring opportunities with concerning regularity, even if their scoring touch had deserted them somewhat. Gary Holt’s side occasionally found themselves in encouraging areas but without fail, squandered them without really testing Jamie Sneddon in goal.

If the first half was blistering, the second had something of an exhibition feel about it. The result – and by proxy, the League One title – had been settled long beforehand. That didn’t stop Graham grabbing his second of the evening and the Jags’ fourth to add some icing on top of what was an especially appetising cake already, tucking home Rudden’s square ball into an unguarded net.

There was still time for one more as Penrice’s close-range effort was scrambled off the line by Mutch, but substitute Joe Cardle was at hand to stroke home the rebound and seal the rout.