Lovell blow relegates Partick

Partick Thistle 0 Dundee 1
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The Independent Football

Partick Thistle succumbed to the inevitable at Firhill yesterday when Steven Lovell condemned them to relegation from the Scottish Premier League just two years after rejoining the top flight.

Partick Thistle succumbed to the inevitable at Firhill yesterday when Steven Lovell condemned them to relegation from the Scottish Premier League just two years after rejoining the top flight.

The Dundee striker's 71st-minute goal was the final nail in the coffin of the Glasgow club, who have suffered a wretched season in an almost permanent residence of last place. Only a miracle can save Partick, though that may yet exist in the shape of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

If the Highland club win the First Division title ahead of Clyde, Partick would be reprieved because the SPL have ruled that the Inverness ground does not meet their criteria on all-seated stadia.

But if this was the final blow, there was irony in Dundee inflicting it. Relations between the clubs became frosty earlier in the season when Partick declared that Dundee - who went into administration - should be demoted over their debts of £20m that contrast starkly with Thistle's tight ship, where losses are the smallest of the 12 SPL clubs.

Firhill's lowest crowd of the season sensed the end was nigh. They were muted and might have been plunged into silence if Dundee had taken the lead after just eight minutes when their top scorer, Nacho Novo, danced through and cleverly cut the ball back for Steven Milne to finish it off until Partick defender Adrian Madaschi snatched it away.

Partick seemed slightly sorry for themselves and it took them until the 20th minute to cast off that mood. James Grady almost brought a brief ray of sunshine into the lives of the Firhill fans when he galloped onto Billy Gibson's long ball and despite having his heels clipped by Brent Sancho, remained on his feet and struck a lob just over the bar.

Grady's movement troubled Dundee. He made another chance but his team-mate Willie Howie took it off him and delivered a tame shot. Five minutes from half-time, Grady eluded his marker to meet a cross from Jean-Yves Anis but the striker's header was acrobatically pushed over the bar by goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

The second half followed the same pattern, with Partick working hard but creating little. That was punished when Lovell broke the deadlock with 19 minutes left, bustling past three poor challenges before firing a right-foot shot past goalkeeper Jamie Langfield from just inside the box.

The taunts of "relegation" rang out from the Dundee fans, though Speroni did touch over a fine response from Stephane Bonnes. Co-manager Derek Whyte admitted later: "The table does not lie and we have to start planning for life in the First Division now."

Partick Thistle 0 Dundee 1
Lovell 71

Half-time 0-0 Attendance: 2,727

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