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Partick Thistle 2-1 Airdrieonians: Graham sends hosts into Premiership play-off semi-final

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Partick Thistle will play Raith Rovers in the Scottish Premiership play-off semi-final after Brian Graham’s double secured a 4-3 aggregate win over Airdrieonians.

Having scored 24 goals this season, the Thistle captain was always likely to pose a threat and so it proved as he converted Aidan Fitzpatrick’s low cross high into the net.

Replays showed that, at the very least, the decision to regard Graham as onside was very tight but with no VAR in use, the question will remain unanswered for Airdrie.

Both sides had been restricted to long-range efforts up until that point, though the visitors’ Nikolay Todorov had netted from an offside position.

The second half was barely 72 seconds old when Thistle took another step towards the semi-final. Scott Robinson burrowed his way deep into the box and centred for Graham to apply a classy back-heeled finish.

Airdrieonians needed a reply quickly and they found one. Lewis McGregor’s delivery was cleared but only as far as Arron Lyall at the edge of the box and the midfielder struck well into the left corner.

As time wore on, extra time seemed to be the visitors’ best hope but Rhys McCabe’s side could not force a leveller. The closest they came was Callum Fordyce’s rebound shot off the top of the crossbar after Todorov’s header had been blocked.

Fitzpatrick almost made the game safe for the hosts but he lifted his shot over goalkeeper Robbie Hemfrey just wide of the post.

Kris Doolan’s Partick Thistle will host Ian Murray’s Raith Rovers on Tuesday before the return leg at Stark’s Park next Friday, with both games kicking off at 19:45 BST and being broadcast live on BBC Scotland, iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

Which club Thistle or fellow Championship outfit Raith face in the two-legged final is yet to be determined, but Ross County and St Johnstone are the teams most in danger of finishing second bottom in the Premiership with three games to play.

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