A last-gasp goal clinched a crucial win for Partick Thistle after a thrilling encounter at Rugby Park.

As both teams went for the jugular, the home side got themselves in front through a neat Vitalijs Maksimenko finish from a corner.

But they were pegged back as a Kallum Higginbotham free-kick evaded the impressive Craig Samson.

And, with the game in the balance, an Aaron Taylor-Sinclair header gave Thistle the points.

They now jump two points clear of Ross County in the table and out of the relegation play-off spot.

In a match that was gripping from the start, it was the visitors who got out of the traps quicker, coming close with a strike that rattled Samson's woodwork.

Kallum Higginbotham (left) scored for Partick Thistle

Kallum Higginbotham (left) equalised for Partick Thistle

With Allan Johnston's Kilmarnock charges firmly on the back-foot, their opponents continued to press and Kris Doolan could have easily got his name on the scoresheet after firing in a shot that looked destined for the net, only for Samson to tip the ball over the bar.

The hosts picked up the pace and could have netted against the run of play when front-man Kris Boyd broke through, having shown Lee Mair a clean pair of heels.

He pulled the trigger, but goalkeeper Paul Gallacher rushed from his goal to dive at the feet of the prolific striker.

As the half progressed, an ill-tempered feud developed between Killie's Alexei Eremenko and Kallum Higginbotham.

Things came to a head when, after the Russian playmaker was accused of a dive following a Higginbotham challenge that earned the defender a yellow card, Gallacher stormed up the pitch to vent his frustration to referee Brian Colvin.

As protests continued over Higginbotham's booking, Kilmarnock launched an attack and should have taken the lead from their best chance of the first 45.

Boyd had the target in his sights after he was teed up nicely, only to scuff his effort.

After the break, with both teams giving their all in an end-to-end contest, the deadlock was finally broken through Maksimenko.

Eremenko, who had been a thorn in the side of Alan Archibald's side, turned provider as he floated in a corner to the far post for Maksimenko, who was on-hand to drill a shot into the net.

The Rugby Park support didn't have a lead to cheer for long, though, as the busy Higginbotham brought the Jags level.

His perfectly weighted free-kick on the edge of the box nestled just inside the left-hand post of Samson, who was beaten from the moment the ball was struck.

As the chances came thick and fast at both ends, Kilmarnock looked odds-on to snatch all three points when Michael Gardyne skilfully chipped Gallacher.

However, the goalkeeper managed to clear at the second attempt - much to the dismay of Kilmarnock players adamant the ball had crossed the line after hitting the bar.

With the clock ticking towards 90, it was Aaron Taylor-Sinclair who was the hero as he guided Thistle to a vital victory.

With only his second goal of the season, he sent the away support wild with a header from two yards that left Samson stranded.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (5)

Kilmarnock

  • 01 Samson
  • 15 Barbour
  • 02 Tesselaar
  • 29 Pascali Booked (Clingan - 86' )
  • 30 Ashcroft
  • 22 Maksimenko
  • 20 Eremenko Booked
  • 05 Irvine
  • 09 Boyd
  • 18 McKenzie (Muirhead - 86' )
  • 25 Gardyne

Substitutes

  • 08 Clingan
  • 10 Johnston
  • 11 Gros
  • 12 Reguero Chapinal
  • 16 Clohessy
  • 28 Slater
  • 33 Muirhead

Partick Thistle

  • 12 Gallacher Booked
  • 16 McMillan
  • 03 Taylor-Sinclair
  • 07 Craigen
  • 06 Balatoni
  • 15 Mair
  • 23 Higginbotham Booked (Elliott - 86' )
  • 10 Buaben
  • 09 Doolan (Taylor - 70' )
  • 28 Erskine (Lawless - 92' )
  • 08 Bannigan

Substitutes

  • 01 Fox
  • 11 Lawless
  • 13 Gabriel
  • 14 Elliott
  • 17 Moncur
  • 21 Taylor
  • 22 Fraser
Ref: Brian Colvin
Att: 4,980

Match Stats

Shots

11 9

On target

4 3

Corners

7 8

Fouls

11 8

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Kilmarnock 1, Partick Thistle 2.

90:00 +3:48 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 1, Partick Thistle 2.

90:00 +1:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Partick Thistle. Steven Lawless replaces Chris Erskine.

88:04

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Paul Gallacher.

87:55

Attempt saved. Ross Barbour (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.

85:39 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Partick Thistle. Christie Elliott replaces Kallum Higginbotham.

85:17 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Kilmarnock. Sammy Clingan replaces Manuel Pascali.

85:04 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Kilmarnock. Robbie Muirhead replaces Rory McKenzie.

84:06 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Kilmarnock 1, Partick Thistle 2. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Partick Thistle) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kallum Higginbotham with a cross.

78:22

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Chris Erskine.

77:56

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Ross Barbour.

77:10

Attempt missed. Lyle Taylor (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

75:22

Foul by Lee Mair (Partick Thistle).

75:22

Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

72:49

Attempt missed. Lyle Taylor (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

69:27 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Partick Thistle. Lyle Taylor replaces Kris Doolan.

67:57

Attempt missed. Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is too high.

67:37

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair.

65:29

Attempt missed. Michael Gardyne (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

64:22 Booking

Booking Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.

64:17

Prince Buaben (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:17

Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).

63:38

Attempt blocked. Ross Barbour (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked.

58:14

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Vitalijs Maksimenko.

57:28

Michael Gardyne (Kilmarnock) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box.

56:05 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Kilmarnock 1, Partick Thistle 1. Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner following a set piece situation.

55:00

Chris Erskine (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

54:58

Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).

53:04 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Kilmarnock 1, Partick Thistle 0. Vitalijs Maksimenko (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alexei Eremenko with a cross.

52:41

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Paul Gallacher.

52:32

Attempt saved. Jackson Irvine (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

51:11

Foul by Kris Doolan (Partick Thistle).

51:11

Lee Ashcroft (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

49:37

Attempt missed. Prince Buaben (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

48:04

Hand ball by Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle).

45:39

Lee Mair (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:39

Foul by Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock).

45:00

Second Half begins Kilmarnock 0, Partick Thistle 0.

45:00 +1:57 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Kilmarnock 0, Partick Thistle 0.

45:00 +1:07 Booking

Booking Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.

45:00 +1:01

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:00 +1:01

Foul by Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock).

45:00 +0:10

Attempt saved. Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

44:54

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Lee Mair.

43:57 Booking

Booking Paul Gallacher (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card.

43:21 Booking

Booking Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card.

43:15

Foul by Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle).

43:15

Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

40:51

Chris Erskine (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

40:51

Foul by Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock).

40:03

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick on the left wing.

40:03

Foul by Jeroen Tesselaar (Kilmarnock).

31:30

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Lee Ashcroft.

29:43

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Ross Barbour.

29:10

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Rory McKenzie.

26:31

Prince Buaben (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

26:31

Foul by Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock).

24:50

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

24:22

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Lee Mair.

23:15

Foul by Chris Erskine (Partick Thistle).

23:15

Jeroen Tesselaar (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.

22:52

Jordan McMillan (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick on the left wing.

22:52

Foul by Jeroen Tesselaar (Kilmarnock).

20:51

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Chris Erskine.

18:20

Foul by Prince Buaben (Partick Thistle).

18:20

Jackson Irvine (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

17:47

Attempt missed. Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

16:45

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

16:45

Foul by Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock).

15:13

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Manuel Pascali.

14:31

Attempt missed. Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

14:19

Foul by Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle).

14:19

Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

13:30

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Craig Samson.

13:03

Attempt saved. Kris Doolan (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

11:53

Attempt missed. Conrad Balatoni (Partick Thistle) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

11:29

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Vitalijs Maksimenko.

7:55

James Craigen (Partick Thistle) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the centre of the box.

7:19

Foul by Jeroen Tesselaar (Kilmarnock).

7:19

Jordan McMillan (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

4:55

Attempt missed. Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

2:19

Foul by Jeroen Tesselaar (Kilmarnock).

2:19

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

1:43

Foul by Prince Buaben (Partick Thistle).

1:43

Michael Gardyne (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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