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JASON SCOTLAND will say sorry to a female fan in the best possible way - with the matchball.

The Trinidad and Tobago striker ran riot as Saints destroyed their hosts, helping himself to a hat-trick and tormenting the Partick Thistle backline all afternoon.

And afterwards he revealed that he will hand over the matchball signed by his team-mates to a St Johnstone supporter who was unlucky enough to have been on the receiving end of one of his piledrivers.

Scotland said: "During the pre-match warm-up one of my shots hit a woman at the front of our fans' end so hard she needed treatment.

"It was obviously a complete accident and I told her I was very sorry but I've decided to give her the ball I got for scoring a hat-trick by way of a proper apology.

"I didn't think I was going to get three goals because I missed a good chance with about 15 minutes to go.

"But when we got the free-kick in injury time Paul Sheerin passed to me when Thistle were still organising the wall and I was delighted to see it hit the net."

Saints took the lead after just 75 seconds.

Keeper Bryn Halliwell's kick-out was headed on by Steven Milne and Scotland sent a left-foot screamer into the top corner.

And in the seventh minute debutant winger Willie McLaren ran through the Jags defence before squaring to Scotland for a simple tap-in to double his tally.

Thistle were being given a torrid time by the Perth attack and Simon Mensing had the home guard in knots after 37 minutes but his shot flew just wide.

Milne should have opened his account with aheader from a pinpoint McLaren cross in 38 minutes but he found the side-netting when it looked easier to score.

However, he got his goal two minutes before the interval, lobbing Martin Hardie's long ball over Kenny Arthur with the Jags defence again posted missing.

Milne got his second in 64 minutes after Scotland's shot was blocked by Arthur and he rammed home the rebound from 18 yards.

Two minutes later Scotland should have got his hat-trick but Arthur blocked with his feet from close range.

Thistle got a penalty in 77 minutes when Graham Gibson was brought down in the box by Halliwell and Simon Donnelly made no mistake from the spot.

Scotland completed his treble two minutes into injury time when the quick-thinking Sheerin tapped the ball to him at a free-kick and he blasted home gleefully.

St Johnstone manager Owen Coyle said: "That's the level of performance I'm looking for and we scored some excellent goals. There wasn't a failure in our team."

Thistle boss Dick Campbell said: "Our inexperience showed dramatically, especially in the first 10 minutes. Kenny Arthur was at fault for the second and third goals."