IAN McCALL was delighted, albeit a tad frustrated, as his Partick Thistle side ran out comfortable 4-1 winners over fellow promotion hopefuls Inverness at Firhill last night to send the Glasgow club top of the Championship standings. 

“I am bit p***** at the end to lose a goal,” came the Thistle manager’s typically candid response. “I wouldn't have minded but a set-play.... although if you'd offered me 4-1 before the game I'd have been delighted. 

“We have three home games in a row and that is the first one done. Hopefully we can do the same in the next two. It is nice to be top of the league this morning but it is early, early days.” 

The home side started on the front foot and seized the early initiative in the contest. Scott Tiffoney, back in the starting line-up for the first time this season, was back at his electric best and demonstrated his value to the team by fashioning a couple of early opportunities. 

The winger did well to beat his man down the left wing and drill an inviting ball across the face of goal but Cole McKinnon contrived to shank his first-time effort from 10 yards out wide of the near post. A few minutes later and Tiffoney repeated the trick but this time, he drilled his low cross-cum-shot goalwards, where it was hacked off the line by the last Inverness defender. 

Thistle soon had the lead their play deserved. Steven Lawless advanced menacingly down the right, cutting inside before a clever reverse ball released McKinnon beyond the static Inverness backline. The Rangers loanee maintained his composure to cut the ball back across the face of goal for Brian Graham to slam home with glee. 

The Jags would double their advantage seven minutes before the break as Graham applied the simplest of finishing touches. A slack back-pass towards Inverness’ Mark Ridgers was cut out by Tiffoney, who used his second touch to nudge the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper. Graham barrelled in, shouting at his team-mate to leave it, as he turned the ball into the empty net for 2-0.  

The result was then sealed on the hour-mark when the visitors gave away a penalty courtesy of a rash challenge from Inverness centre-half Robbie Deas. 

Kevin Holt stepped up for Thistle and tucked the spot-kick away with aplomb before substitute Anton Dowds added a fourth with a few minutes to go to send his side top of the Championship. George Oakley headed in a stoppage-time consolation for the away side but it mattered little in the end. 

"For the first time since I have come here we did not work hard enough," said Inverness manager Billy Dodds. "I can't label that often at my players.

"I don't know if it is because last week we scored a few nice goals and passed well.

"We played our part in every goal. It has to start from hard work and you get your rewards from that but we did not work hard enough.

"It is a sore one. When you don't do the basics the heads go down. We never looked like getting back into it."