Airdrie United 4 Partick Thistle 2

Veteran striker Owen Coyle scored twice but was over shadowed by former Thistle player Martin Hardie as Airdrie beat nine-man Partick.

Hardie injured Andrew Dowie with a clumsy first-half tackle and was then involved in the explosive scenes which led Grant Murray and Andy Wilkinson to be sent off early in the second period.

Marvyn Wilson put Airdrie in front after ten minutes when he drifted in from the right and hammered home a low left-foot shot from the edge of the box.

The home team doubled their advantage when a long-range effort from Hardie came back off the post and Coyle tapped in a simple rebound.

The visitors badly needed a goal and Australia Olympic defender Adrian Madaschi provided it shortly before half-time with a free header from Derek Fleming's corner.

Any prospect over famous fightback ended in the 53rd minute when Murray was sent off for a heavy challenge on Hardie and Wilkinson also saw red after pushing referee Alan Freeland.

Wullie McLaren soon made it 3-1 after latching onto a flick by Kevin Christie but Juan Ramon Escalas gave fresh hope to the nine men when he capitalised on a mistake by Neil McGowan to grab his ninth goal of the season from 12 yards.

The same player almost equalised with a spectacular 30-yard rocket, but eight minutes from the end Ken Milne lost his footing at the wrong time and Coyle pounced to put the result beyond doubt.