BOSS Ray McKinnon described Cammy Smith as a perfect 10 after his first-half hat-trick sent Dundee United past Partick and into the Betfred Cup quarter-finals with a 3-1 win at Tannadice.
The 20-year-old attacker, on loan from Aberdeen, took less than half an hour to effectively decide the tie with two composed finishes and a penalty to leave the Ladbrokes Premiership side stunned.
Thistle’s Sean Welsh reduced the deficit from the spot in the 64th minute to offer hope of a comeback but the Championship side remained in control.
McKinnon said: “Cammy Smith had the penalty but his other two goals were absolutely magnificent.
“His composure for the first and a wee flick and finish for the second.
“There were a lot of good performances but he was man of the match with his hat-trick.
“It will do wonders for his confidence. We’ve been having a chat and asking the players what they think that number 10 role is.
“They all think it’s being creative but it’s about scoring goals as well because they’re effectively a striker.
“We’ve tried to get that into their heads and had a conversation about him making runs beyond Tope Obadeyi and he got a hat-trick out of it.
“I was delighted with the chances we made. I won’t be critical and say we should have scored more – I’ll just say it was great.”
After such a good start to the season where the 2-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win over Inverness on Saturday was one of five straight victories, Thistle boss Alan Archibald was surprised by his side’s performance, even though they were missing goalkeeper Tomas Cerny and defender Liam Lindsay through injury.
He said: “We’ve been very good and it was obviously chalk and cheese from Saturday.
“Our goalkeeper had one save to make on Saturday and in this game our goalkeeper probably had eight or nine saves to make and he kept the score a wee bit more respectable.
“Credit to Dundee United, they were good and we were awful.
“The defensive changes shouldn’t have affected us. It was two enforced changes but the team was the same other than that.
“There’s enough experience in that team to go and defend when it’s tough and pull people in and pull people about to get over that tough five or 10-minute spell.
“We didn’t do that as a group, and collectively and individually we were poor all over the pitch.
“They cut us open every time and we couldn’t handle their movement.
“It’s something we’ve got in our team, our players play against that every day in training with Chris Erskine and Stevie Lawless, they drop into pockets so they knew what to expect.
“We analysed them and Cammy Smith has caused us problems before so we’re well aware of him, we just didn’t handle him here.”
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