Tony Watt scored a stunning hat-trick to fire Dundee United nine points clear of Partick Thistle in second spot of the Championship.

The win for Jim Goodwin’s side has applied pressure to Raith Rovers as they prepare to take on Arbroath tomorrow afternoon, with their lead cut to just two points at the summit.

The opener came with just seven minutes on the clock. Liam Grimshaw’s wicked ball into Thistle’s six-yard box was initially very well defended by Aaron Muirhead. The defender stretched across to stop the ball from landing at Louis Moult’s feet.

However, after a slight mix-up between Muirhead and keeper Jamie Sneddon when trying to clear the danger, the ball was played straight to Watt inside the area. The forward took a touch before slamming home from close range.

United were well on top for most of the first half and their wide players floated in several dangerous deliveries.

The visitors came closest to equalising before the break, though. On the counter, Jack McMillan and Steven Lawless linked up on the right wing before the ball was played inside to Aidan Fitzpatrick. The attacker produced a superb chop to sit down two United defenders, but he couldn’t keep his powerful effort down and on target.

Moult missed a massive chance with 20 minutes remaining. He beat the offside trap to latch onto Kevin Holt’s long ball. His first touch was sublime, but the finish left a lot to be desired as United looked to make sure of the points.

The Jags mounted pressure with the score still at 1-0 for the majority of the second half.

However, Watt stole the show by netting a further two late in the game. His second came via a brilliant strike from the edge of the box after some neat footwork to turn Muirhead inside out.

His third came in the form of a free header deep inside Thistle’s box after a terrific cross from the right wing.