Maryhill 0 Largs Thistle 1

Largs Thistle entered the new year in good spirits with a narrow victory at basement boys Maryhill who belied their lowly position with some dominant play at times in this encounter.

It was a tricky game on a difficult surface for the Barrfields side up against a team who were desperate to get their first league win of the season, and it certainly took a while for Thistle to find their feet in this contest.

Thistle's last visit to Maryhill on league business came in 2007 with a late winning goal, and history repeated itself, as Largs left it until the 80th minute to make the break through.

But it was far from plain sailing for Stuart Davidson's side who had to soak up a fair amount of pressure throughout the encounter. Both sides hit the woodwork in the first half as a result of corner kicks.

Largs opened on a positive footing and pressed Maryhill in the early stages, but the home side improved as the first half went on.

On 20 minutes, Kieran Furay's close range header flashed over the bar for Maryhill, and Largs were next on the attack with Kevin Struthers cleverly evading his marker to tee up Graham Muir but his first shot was blocked and his rebound lacked power and was easily saved by Del Moore in the Maryhill goal.

The home side increased the pressure on Largs with a series of dangerous corner kicks, one of which was headed on by Owens and struck the left post before being cleared by Matthew Ashe in the Thistle defence.

Thistle responded with their own corner which was pushed on to the top of the crossbar by Moore, before being saved at the second attempt in a surreal moment. See the clip below.

The start of the second half had more pressure from Maryhill as Thistle keeper Sean Graham mis-kicked a clearance, then the keeper had to look lively during a goalmouth scramble to block an effort after Thistle defenders managed to block the first effort.

Thistle introduced Alex McWaters and Ryan McKie for Stephen Burden and Kevin Struthers for the final 20 minutes, and this fresh injection of pace unsettled the opposition, and nearly paid immediate dividends as a quick passing move resulted in a McWaters flick setting up Muir's cushioned header which was well saved by Moore. Martin Orr also came off the bench as Largs looked rejuvenated.

Creag Little was victim of a harsh looking challenge but the referee did not get his book out much to the consternation of the Thistle support.

However, there was a big let-off as a seemingly safe back pass to Sean Graham was intercepted by Maryhill's Colin Preston. It was a gift of an opportunity for a team searching for their first league win of the season but fortunately for Thistle, the forward launched the effort over the bar with just Graham to beat.

McKie was making a nusiance of himself to the Maryhill rearguard, and he showed great composure to get on the end of a long pass, and coolly chip the outrushing Moore on 80 minutes for an accomplished finish.

Largs held out after that, running down the clock with some savvy play in the Maryhill half, to make sure of maximum points.

This was a potential banana skin on an encounter for Largs, and Maryhill, at times, looked better than their league position suggested and were particularly dangerous from set plays, but Largs gradually found the 'McKie' to victory with some key substitutions, to help get the all important goal, and make sure of the maximum points.

It was Maryhill for thrills, and chills, and keeps Thistle within good sight of the promotion places, but a big improvement all round is necessary for next Saturday's encounter at home to third placed Cambuslang Rangers.

Thistle boss Stuart Davidson savoured the victory, and said: "A magnificent three points, not a great performance but proud of the way we dug deep and kept going to the end  The attitude was superb from the full squad which really helps; it was a great support once again, and a good start to the year."

Largs: Graham, Ashe, McVey, Gilbride, Jamieson, Little, Muir, Campbell, Adam, Struthers, Burden. Subs: McWaters, Fleming, Orr, McKie, Cousar (GK).

Maryhill: Moore, Beckley, McGillion, McFarlane, Banks, Owens, McCall, Marenghi, Preston, Furay, McLarty. Subs: Tiffney, Emsley, Clark, Crawford, Mailey (GK).