A 38th-minute goal by Jack Hay earned Spartans a hard-fought 1-0 win over East Kilbride, bringing the league leaders’ 30-match unbeaten run to a halt.
The visitors played out the final 15 minutes with ten men after Kieran Gibbons earned a straight red card for a crude two-footed lunge on Craig Stevenson.
The hosts almost got of to the perfect start when Andrew Mair found himself in the box but his shot was comfortably saved by Jacob Kean.
Blair Tolmie’s effort in the 37th minute from an Eddie Malone corner was headed narrowly wide as Spartans pressed for an opening goal. That was to come moments later when Hay received the ball inside the box before outfoxing Craig Howie to ram the ball home through a bevy of bodies.
Adam Strachan’s free-kick from outside the box set up an ideal opportunity for the visitors to equalise early in the second half – however his effort could only find the roof of the net – on the adjoining five-a-side enclosure.
Tolmie’s timely tackle inside the box denied Joao Victoria as East Kilbride’s 30-match unbeaten run in all competitions started to look as if it was about to come to an end.
Spartan’s task was made harder when Gibbons was sent off for an early shower by referee Scott Millar much to the bemusement of the visitors’ bench. They were even less enamoured when Alan Brown tangled with Victoria in the box with Smith waving away appeals as the bench raced on to the pitch in a fit of rage.
Spartans: Carswell, Herd, Malone (Watson 87), Tolmie, Thomson, Mair, Brown, Dishington, Townsley, Hay (Ward 85), Stevenson. Subs Unused: Beesley, Comrie, Gabiola, Maxwell, Gilpin
East Kilbride: Kean, Capuano, Russell, McLaren (Coll 56), Howie, Gibbons, Winter, Hughes (Marenghi 67), Smith (Hardie 56), Strachan, Victoria. Unused Subs: McNeil, Stevenson, Millar, McGinley