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 Saturday, 30 November, 2002, 16:51 GMT
Burns treble sees off Killie
Partick Thistle's Alex Burns
Alex Burns was a fitness doubt before the game
Partick Thistle 3-0 Kilmarnock

A superb second-half hat-trick from Alex Burns gave Thistle all three points against Kilmarnock.

After a goalless first half at Firhill Burns finally broke the deadlock with a 64th minute strike.

And the striker wrapped up all three points for the home side with just over 10 minutes to go with his second goal of the game.

He completed his hat-trick in the 87th minute.

It was Thistle's first win over the Ayrshire side for eight years and lifted John Lambie's men away from the relegation area.

Kilmarnock started brightly and Gary McSwegan fired in the first shot of the game.

But his long-distance effort from the right flew across goal and harmlessly wide.

Then Andy McLaren tried to find Craig Dargo in the box but Kenny Arthur came off his line to gather.

Thistle's Jamie Mitchell tussles with Greg Shields
Thistle had the best of a closely contested first half
At the other end Burns picked up a loose clearance just outside the box to fire in a fierce volley that Gordon Marshall did well to hold on to.

Greg Shields launched a swift counter attack for Killie that saw Dargo lift the ball over Arthur as he sprinted into the box.

But the ball landed on top of the crossbar and bounced back into play, with Scott Paterson reacting the quickest to put the ball out for a corner.

Thistle had looked lively although it was the visitors who had come the closest to opening the scoring.

Dargo latched on to a ball at the Partick near post but Stephen Craigan had tracked back and deflected the ball behind for a corner.

The ball went straight into the net from the corner but the whistle had gone for jostling in the box.

Thistle replied with a blistering long-ranger from Alan Archibald which just cleared the crossbar.

The game hit a lull in the final 10 minutes of the first half and needed a spark to lift it.

Thistle almost provided it with a trio of headed flick-ons from Craigan's throw, with first David Lilley, then Gerry Britton and finally Mitchell getting touches to divert the ball goalward.

But the final touch was Marshall's and his was a comfortable catch.

Partick Thistle's hat-trick hero Alex Burns
Burns made sure he claimed the match ball
Arthur was soon called into action at the other end, getting behind a McSwegan 25-yarder.

At the start of the second half McLaren fired over after Burns had given away cheap possession.

Burns did the same at the other end after Derek Whyte had nodded the ball back for him to let fly on the edge of the area.

Then the impressive McLaren retrieved a loose ball on the left edge of the box and cut inside to force Arthur into a save at his near post.

But on 64 minutes Burns outpaced two Killie defenders chasing a ball through the middle to fire past Marshall.

He doubled Thistle's lead after 79 minutes and then made sure of the win with a third goal three minutes from time.

Partick: Arthur, Lilley, Archibald, Craigan, Whyte, Chiarini, Paterson, Mitchell, Britton (Walker 84), Hardie, Burns.

Subs Not Used: Budinauckas, Buchan, Waddell, Gibson.

Booked: Britton.

Kilmarnock: Marshall, Fowler (Boyd 72), Dillon, Shields, Dindeleux, Fulton, Mahood, Canero, McSwegan, Dargo, McLaren (Di Giacomo 81).

Subs Not Used: Meldrum, Locke, Hay. Booked: McLaren.

Attendance: 5,055

Referee: M McCurry

 BBC Scotland's Jim Spence
"A terrific game of football from Partick"
 Thistle's Alex Burns
"Hopefully we can get that top six finish"
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Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

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