Partick Thistle 2-4 Heart of Midlothian
Hearts produced a magnificent display at Firhill to defeat Partick Thistle 4-2 on Saturday.
Despite falling behind to an early Kris Doolan opener, Gary Locke's boys turned on the style and won convincingly thanks to goals from Dale Carrick, Billy King and a brace from Ryan Stevenson.
The manager made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 in midweek with Aberdeen. Brad McKay replaced the suspended Danny Wilson, Carrick returned to the starting line-up while Scott Robinson and King came in for Sam Nicholson and David Smith.
The Jambos got off to the worst possible start as it took the home side only four minutes to get their noses in front. A long ball forward saw Doolan out-pace the Hearts defence before striding into the box and lashing the ball beyond Jamie MacDonald.
Hearts rallied and began to play some attractive, passing football. However, it was Partick who nearly grabbed the next goal in the 15th minute when Lyle Taylor got on the end of a clever defence-splitting pass, but he blasted over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
By this point the Jags looked a threat every time they went forward. A lovely passing move on the edge of the box saw the ball moved out to Doolan, but his half-volley from 18 yards was straight at MacDonald.
It took a stunning save from Paul Gallacher to deny Scott Robinson after 33 minutes. He connected with Kevin McHattie's corner but the Partick 'keeper somehow clawed the midfielder's header off the line.
The Jambos should've been back on level terms just minutes later. Dale Carrick's through ball saw King beat the offside trap, but as he ran in on goal the flying winger elected to shoot early, and dragged his effort wide of the target.
Hearts continued to grow in confidence, with a succession of corners won and intricate passing moves around the edge of the box. King had a long range effort beaten away by Gallacher on 42 minutes, then a minute later the Jambos got the equaliser. King skinned his man on the left to chip in a cross at the bye-line and Carrick popped up to nod home.
The Gorgie boys started the second half in polar opposite fashion to the first. King received the ball 25 yards out and he hammered it high and beyond Gallacher, into the back of the net.
Just after the hour mark, Hearts notched their third goal of the game. Robinson's corner from the left was met by Stevenson and his glancing header nestled into the corner of the net.
Robinson again turned provider in the 67th minute, and again Stevenson was goalscorer. Robinson tore down the right-hand side of the pitch before playing a loss cross to the feet of Stevenson, who pirouetted with back to goal and curled the ball past the outstretched Gallahcer and into the net.
Partick pulled one back late on when Jordan McMillan advanced into the box and drilled a low shot across and beyond MacDonald.
In a season of horrors and uphill struggles, this campaign was summed up with the news that St Mirren had taken points at Motherwell, which meant that despite a wonderful display from the Jambos and three points thoroughly well deserved, Hearts were relegated.
The tremendous Hearts support sang "we'll support you evermore" at full time and that's exactly what this club needs as it begins a new chapter in its history.
Partick Thistle: Gallacher, McMillan, Taylor-Sinclair, Bannigan, Gabriel, Mair, Higginbotham (Buaben, 54'), Fraser (Craigen, 74') , Taylor, Doolan, Erskine (Lawless, 65'). Subs: Fox, O'Donnell, Elliott, Moncour.
Hearts: MacDonald; Paterson, McGowan, McKay, McHattie; Robinson (Smith, 69') , Hamill, Holt; Stevenson, Carrick (Nicholson, 71), King (Oliver, 84'). Subs: Ridgers, McGhee, Beith, Walker.
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Top man: Ryan Stevenson
Today on HeartsTV - EXCLUSIVE post-match reaction from Gary Locke.