STEVIE CRAWFORD says he's "thankful" to Aberdeen for the loan signing of forward Bruce Anderson after he hit a double in last night's win over Partick Thistle.

But the Pars head coach was equally keen to praise his team's defence after their third win  - and clean sheet - in a row.

Anderson's second half double, either side of a Danny Devine header, handed Dunfermline a convincing win over bottom side Thistle, moving Crawford's team nine points clear of both their opponents and ninth-placed Falkirk.

In addition, they are now just two points behind Inverness in fourth, and a win over Queen of the South on Saturday - with the Highlanders in Scottish Cup action - will saw the clubs swap places.

Crawford said: "One of the most pleasing things is that that's three clean sheets on the bounce. It maybe sounds odd, coming from an ex-striker, that that's the first thing I've said to you but you can see there's a real discipline about the way we're going about our performances.

"The first half probably wasn't a pleasing spectacle to the eye but, in terms of the way we're asking them to play and the way we were asking them to counter Partick out of possession, they're doing things right, they're doing it to a man and it's restricting teams to opportunities.

"Then, when the game opens up a wee bit, I thought we looked lively, you get the confidence from Bruce scoring the first goal and, as I say, it's pleasing to go on and get the second and third goal because that's probably one thing we've been struggling to do this year.

"He (Anderson) probably had the best chance for us in the first half. He's been really unlucky, just pulled it wide of the post, but it's a striker's instinct for both of his goals.

"He's read where the ball's going to land in the six-yard box and his smile at the end when he came off said it all.

"He's down here to score goals for us and we're thankful that Aberdeen have loaned him out to us because he's going to be a right good player."

He continued: "We tried to hurt Partick in wider areas and, if our passing had been better, we would have got overloads in the wide areas. As I say, it didn't come off in the first half, but the pleasing thing there is that we restricted Partick to chances, and Partick are a good side. They've been on a right good run of form as well.

"But we get a lift, and the supporters then get right behind us when we get the first goal. Gary's changed his shape during the second half, so we then decide to go with two up front because we felt the game opened up a bit to be more of a threat up top, and it's paid off tonight."

Thistle boss Gary Caldwell, meanwhile, said he was "massively disappointed" with how his side performed, and felt that the Pars deserved their victory.

He said: "It was a game that we wanted to come and win. First half, there was nothing in the game - it was poor quality from both sides - and then second half we shoot ourselves in the foot straight away again and give ourselves a mountain to climb.

"When the game opens up, we concede a second and, as we're chasing the game, we lose more counter-attacks and then lose a third.

"I thought the shape first half should have worked better, but we didn't use the man at the back to bring the ball out, and get the wing backs on the ball and create problems in the final third.

"I felt they had more desire and more energy about them, and deserved to win on the second half performance."