The Scotsman

Dobbie on fire as third trio of season sinks Ayr

- By CRAIG P STEWART

Ayr United’s stay at the top of Championsh­ip was brief as they went down 5-0 to a Stephen Dobbie-inspired

Queen of the South ona day when the name of Les Mottram reappeared in Scottish football.

Dobbie netted with a flashing drive on 12 minutes before scoring a penalty and then completing his third hat-trick of the season with only 20 minutes played.

The striker missed a second penalty to prove that he was human before Gary Harkins sent a rocket shot home before the break.

After Dobbie had drilled in his fourth in the second half, manager Gary Naysmith said: “Stephen was exceptiona­l, but the first thing he did afterwards was to praise his teammates for their support and defensive display.”

Ross County returned to top spot with a 2-0 victory over bottom-placed

Falkirk who had Gordon Young in charge ahead of new manager Ray Mckinnon’s arrival.

Jamie Lindsay broke the deadlock midway through the second half and Declan Mcmanus wrapped things up right at the end.

Memories of referee Mottram, who famously missed a goal at Firhill by Dundee United’s Paddy Connolly when the ball hit a stanchion in 1993, were stirred during Partick Thistle’s 1-0 win over managerles­s Morton.

The Jags were leading by Chris Erskine’s volley on 50 minutes when Kris Doolan cracked home via the underside of the bar, the ball hitting a metal pole at the back of the goal.

As Thistle celebrated, referee Barry Cook consulted with his assistant Jordan Stokoe and left everyone stunned by awarding a throw-in.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle enjoyed a 3-0 win at Dunfermlin­e where Shaun Rooney headed in the opener on 51 minutes with Liam Polworth and George Oakley also finding the net.

Alloa hit back late through Iain Flannigan to earn a 1-1 draw with a visiting Dundee United side who led through Paul Watson’s goal.

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