Craig Curran’s predatory first-half effort was sufficient to seal a fourth consecutive win – the first time they have achieved that feat for a year – as Thistle, who played for 30 minutes a man light after Kallum Higginbotham’s red card, slipped to their sixth defeat in seven.
Thistle, looking to build on the fleeting promise of last week’s 2-0 win at Tannadice, had made a bright start as Lyle Taylor sliced wide of target having been set up by James Craigen.
The excellent Raffaele De Vita caused some anxiety for Thistle with a threatening cross but the visitors were soon back on the offensive; Steven Lawless firing over from 14 yards before Scott Boyd’s timely intervention denied the same player.
Former Carlisle striker Craig Curran (33) netted the opener, after De Vita crossed for Liam Boyce. His shot was blocked by Paul Gallacher but Curran pounced to calmly plant a header in the bottom corner for his fourth goal of the season.
Higginbotham hit the side-netting with a snap shot as Thistle looked for a swift response while Michael Gardyne did well to work some space but could not find the target with his shot.
Taylor slotted home a rebound after Lawless’ fierce shot had been parried but an offside flag cut short the celebrations. Shortly after a rush of blood saw Higginbotham’s afternoon curtailed; having lost possession the Thistle striker lunged in on Gardyne and was shown a straight red card on 59.
The dismissal saw the game open up as Paul Quinn headed wide and a rapid break from Thistle ended with substitute Ryan Stevenson finding the side-netting.
Stephen O’Donnell cleared another Quinn header off the line but Thistle refused to back down, Stevenson proving a lively presence, but the County defence survived a couple of late scares to close the gap on their opponents to four points.