Ayr United 0 – 5 Partick

Partick Thistle continued his scoring run to reach the Premiership play-off final with a 5-0 win over 10-man Ayr at Somerset Park.

Scott Tiffoney hit a brace and Jack McMillan, Steven Lawless and Kevin Holt were also on target as the Jags cruised to an 8-0 aggregate victory.

Championship runner-up Ayr had top scorer Dipo Akinyemi sent off to cap a miserable play-off experience for striker and club.

Thistle will face either Kilmarnock or Ross County in the final two, with the Staggies needing to win at Rugby Park on Sunday to avoid a tough hurdle to retaining their top-flight status.

The Jags have scored 16 goals in four play-off wins and have lost only once in 17 games since Kris Doolan took charge.

Although a fourth-placed side in the Championship have never won the play-offs, Thistle now have two extra days off from their opponents ahead of the first leg next Thursday after having a full week between games against Ayr.

Scott Tiffoney of Partick Thistle scores to make it 3-0

Ayr midfielder Reece McAlear saved an early strike but the sting was taken out of the game in the seventh minute when McMillan scored his third goal of the play-off campaign.

The right-back provided the impetus for the move with a run into the box and his cross eventually fell for Aidan Fitzpatrick, whose shot was saved by Ayr goalkeeper Charlie Albinson. McMillan was perfectly positioned to approve the rebound on the line.

There were chances on either side in the following moments but Thistle looked the more dangerous side and the home side’s slim hopes were gone in the 25th minute when Akinyemi was sent off.

AYR, SCOTLAND - MAY 26: Partick Thistle's Aaron Muirhead falls back after a push from Ayr's Dipo Akinyemi during a Premiership Play-Off Semi-Final match between Ayr United and Partick Thistle at Somerset Park on May 26 2023 in Ayr, Scotland.  (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group)
Dipo Akinyemi was sent off for blasting Aaron Muirhead

The striker, who missed the first leg with illness, reacted angrily after being held back by Aaron Muirhead and tried to push the defender away.

The man whose 24 goals won him the PFA Championship of Scotland Player of the Year award grabbed the defender in the face with his arm and Muirhead fell and was treated.

Referee Colin Steven was slow to deliver his punishment but Akinyemi was already heading for the tunnel before the red card was shown.

Ayr manager Lee Bullen didn’t seem to agree and pointed the finger at someone on the pitch. His mood soured two minutes later when Thistle doubled his lead on the counterattack.

AYR, SCOTLAND - MAY 26: Partick Thistle's Kevin Holt celebrates after scoring to make it 5-0 in a Premiership Play-Off cinch semi-final match between Ayr United and Partick Thistle at Somerset Park on May 26 May 2023, in Ayr, Scotland.  (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group)
Kevin Holt completed the rout with Partick’s fifth

Fitzpatrick broke the left, took his time and picked Tiffoney at the far post to strike home. The former loanee from Ayr celebrated by putting his finger to his mouth in front of the home support.

Albinson saved a one-on-one from Brian Graham before Tiffoney added another goal in the 54th minute. A wonderful first-time pass from Lawless sent McMillan down the right and his low cross was returned six yards out.

Lawless scored in the 63rd minute with a reverse finish after Albinson pushed away Holt’s cross.

Substitutes Anton Dowds, twice, and Danny Mullen missed good chances for the visitors before Holt headed home from Kyle Turner’s 88th-minute corner.

Whatis the next?

Ayr will now face either Ross County or Kilmarnock in the play-off final, live on Sky sports. The first leg is Thursday, kick off at 8 p.m.

Sky Sports

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