Lawrence Shankland grabbed a terrific hat-trick to push relentless Dundee United ever closer to the Premiership.
The Tangerines finished up 4-1 winners over Partick Thistle at Firhill and look unstoppable as they lord it over the rest of the Championship.
It was their prolific striker Shankland who got them off and running, scoring with a glancing header on 38 minutes.
Argentinian Adrian Sporle then grabbed his first league goal for the Tangerines, tapping the ball over the line from close range to put the visitors two up on the stroke of half-time.
It then became the Shankland show, much to the delight of the 1,500-strong travelling support.
United made it 3-0 with a quite wonderful solo effort from Shankland on the hour-mark, the frontman cutting across the front of the Thistle penalty area before firing low into the net.
His third and his team’s fourth came on 66 minutes, with Shankland blasting past Fox after a cutback from substitute Peter Pawlett. It was his 24th goal for his club.
Kenny Miller grabbed a consolation goal for Partick with three minutes to go but it was all about United and Shankland.
With second-placed Inverness Caley Thistle sitting in the Highlands kicking their heels because their match against Queen of the South had been postponed, that saw Robbie Neilson’s men move 17 points clear of their nearest “rivals.”
There was an immediate debut for United’s new American midfielder Dillon Powers, while fellow recruit Kieran Freeman was on the bench.
The men who were missing from the win at Queens were Ladbrokes player of the month Calum Butcher and Jamie Robson, with both players injured, while captain Mark Reynolds returned at the back to play alongside Paul Watson and Mark Connolly.
The match survived not one but two inspections from referee Willie Collum, with rain lashing Glasgow.
The Tangerines’ first chance came on six minutes when a Nicky Clark freekick was head-flicked goalwards by Shankland but Jags keeper Scott Fox was well positioned to save.
A Declan Glass shot trundled wide on 15 minutes as the visitors tried to get used to the heavy pitch.
The same player had a much better strike saved by Fox on 27 minutes before, up at the other end, Thistle’s Reece Cole went off on a mazy run only for United goalie Benjamin Siegrist to block his shot with his legs.
Glass had his third attempt on goal on the half-hour after Shankland’s backheeled lay-off but this time the ball flew wide. The game had livened up by now and Partick’s Dario Zanatta headed straight at Siegrist.
United’s Clark then sclaffed his shot at goal after a cutback from Sporle before Miller looked certain to score for Partick on 34 minutes only for Siegrist to save his toepoke.
A stinging 30-yard shot from Clark almost beat Fox at his near post but the goalie did just enough to keep it out.
Clark then cut the Partick defence open with a great ball that made an opening for Shankland. The striker didn’t score that time but his shot was pushed away by Fox for the corner that led to the opening goal on 38 minutes.
The setpiece was taken from the left by Clark and Shankland nodded it down and into the net for goal number 22 for his club.
It was 2-0 to the Tangerines right before half-time when they cut open Thistle. Shankland spread the ball to his left where Glass was waiting and the young midfielder sent a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal and Sporle scored from a yard out.
United were three ahead on the hour mark and it was a beautiful goal from Shankland.
The Scotland international took possession of the ball on the left wing, cut across the front of the Partick penalty area then blasted a terrific shot low into the net with Fox helpless.
He was at it again on 66 minutes when he gave Fox no chance with a vicious strike that nearly burst the net and made it 4-0 to the Tannadice team.
Somewhat annoyingly, they lost a goal with just three minutes remaining when former Dundee man Miller drilled home a shot but the United fans kept on singing.