ON the day tens of thousands of Scots marched to demand action to save the planet from increasingly extreme weather conditions, it was suitably stormy in East Ayrshire for this Championship clash.

Yet all looked rosy for table-toppers Kilmarnock heading into the game as they faced a Partick Thistle side which had drawn three blanks in three scoreless games last week. The sun even emerged for kick-off but within three minutes a familiar sense of doom and gloom had returned to Rugby Park.

Zak Rudden, who tormented the home team throughout, latched on to a delicate through ball by Jags captain Ross Docherty and coolly lifted the ball over Killie goalkeeper Zach Hemming. The chance was offered up following two cheap giveaways of possession from the home side, which became a familiar theme as Tommy Wirght’s men huffed and puffed to no avail in search of an equaliser.

Thistle threatened to run away with it in the first half, and may well have had Calum Waters seen red for a last-man challenge in the ninth minute. Rudden again outwitted the Kilmarnock defence with a nice flick and was bearing down on goal when he was brought down on the edge of the area by Killie’s left back. The defender was grateful to be punished merely with a yellow card.

Jags manager Ian McCall, who had called for more potency from his side following last week’s barren run, rightly felt his side was “dominant” in the first half. While bemoaning the leniency of the decision on Water’s challenge, the Thistle coach was more interested in his team’s thoroughly professional display.  

"We should have been a couple up at half-time which would have given us breathing space because the last 15 minutes, Kilmarnock put us under pressure with a lot of long balls,” McCall said.  

But he had his goalkeeper to thank – not for the first time this season – for an outstanding save which this week ensured his team went back to Maryhill with all three points. The stopper clawed one off the line in stoppage time to deny an Olly Shaw header in what was the only moment in the game in which Killie looked as if they may breach the Thistle rearguard.  

McCall added: "Jamie Sneddon had nothing to do but made a great save in the last minute. In six league games we've lost one goal when we were 6-0 up. Where that has came from, I have no idea – but that's Thistle."

Rudden, the game’s outstanding player along with Stuart Bannigan – who made the Killie midfield look positively statuesque – was also sought out for special praise.

"Zak was really, really terrific,” McCall beamed. “His movement and touch until he got tired was fantastic and he's got a real chance, if he can keep improving."

For Kilmarnock it was an afternoon to forget. Daniel Armstrong went closest for the home team in the first half with a curling effort beyond the far post. Following an extended break at half-time due to an injury to a linesman, both teams appeared to have been frozen stiff, with Thistle’s first-half fluency not so evident.

Yet the away side were never truly troubled until Shaw’s last-ditch effort, which came following a Chris Burke corner at the death.

Wright felt his side should have been awarded at least one penalty following handball shouts in the second half, and an incident in which he felt striker Callum Hendry had been hauled down.

But the Killie manager acknowledged his men, who remain top of the table thanks to their Ayrshire rivals doing them a favour again Inverness, had been second best.

“We know we haven’t played well,” he said. “They didn’t realty create a lot but they looked a real threat with one long ball up to Rudden, who was excellent. But we had too many players that were just off colour today for whatever reason.”