The Ross County supporters celebrated Hawaiian day at Firhill in their club’s final game of the season but the summer break is going to be anything but a relaxing one for manager Derek Adams.
The jubilation which greeted Scottish Premiership survival has been replaced by a need to get the house in order for next season at Victoria Park.
Adams admitted as much last week in revealing he had not even started planning for the next campaign as he didn’t know where the club would be playing.
Contract offers need to be made, while hard decisions need to be taken about other players. Replacing the five loan players who have returned to their clubs needs to be addressed making for a busy few weeks ahead for Adams and father George, director of football at the club.
The Staggies were ninth before kick-off on Saturday but with almost £90,000 at stake per place the importance of finishing higher was not lost on the manager or his players as they claimed a win which brought £180,000 into the club kitty.
His side was certainly the brighter of the teams in an entertaining if subdued encounter as Jordan Slew came close to ending his wait for a first goal for the club on his final appearance when he beat Gabriel Piccolo in the box but he dragged his low shot wide of Jags goalkeeper Scott Fox’s left post.
The long wait for the Blackburn Rovers forward, who joined the club on January 1, ended in the 22nd minute as he collected a Yoann Arquin pass before beating Jags defender Conrad Balatoni and slotting the ball beyond Fox.
Better late than never for Slew, who has gone so close to getting his first goal for weeks and his team-mates celebrated him breaking his duck as if it was one of the most important goals of the season.
Slew was involved in everything in attack for County and having waited so long to get his first, he almost grabbed a second before the break when Fox blocked Alex Cooper’s shot. but Slew managed to deflect the loose ball on to the post, flattening Fox in the process.
The impact forced Fox off the field following a four-minute delay with Paul Gallacher taking his place.
Slew also required treatment but was able to continue with a strapping on his left hand.
Gallacher stayed out at half-time to put himself through a proper warm-up for the second period but it was a pity his defence didn’t do the same as they switched off completely to gift County a second goal two minutes after the restart.
A Graham Carey free kick was aimed towards Arquin who had time and space to pick his spot before steering his header low past Gallacher. At no point did a Jags player make an attempt to close him down or defend the ball into the box.
County were worth their lead, but switched off at the back to hand Jags a lifeline as Christie Elliott ran down the right flank before curling in a terrific cross for Lyle Taylor who rose high to head high past visiting goalkeeper Mark Brown.
The goal injected a much needed spark into Partick’s play and it required a terrific save from Brown to stop the home side from equalising just after the hour mark as the County goalkeeper palmed away a low drive from Steven Lawless.
But the Jags were not to be denied and they restored parity with 18 minutes remaining when a back-heel from Taylor laid the ball into the path of substitute George Moncur who side-footed the ball past Brown from 14 yards.
Having worked so hard to build their lead County’s response to losing it was immediate as they forced a couple of corners. The second one was not cleared and substitute De Leeuw beat Jordan McMillan before sending a deflected shot past Gallacher to give his side victory.