Airdrieonians started the second league quarter just as they had the first - with an emphatic victory over Queen's Park.
Iain Russell was the hat-trick hero with his treble all coming from spot kicks, a feat not seen in Scotland since Paul Hartley’s treble for Aberdeen against Hamilton back in August 2010.
Queen's Paul Woods was first to threaten on three minutes when he cut inside before drilling a low shot on target that Rohan Ferguson gathered.
Two minutes later, Andy Ryan linked well with Russell to find himself in space inside the box, but he slashed his attempt from the left well wide of goal.
The deadlock was broken after nine minutes. Andy Ryan retained control of the ball after racing into the box but was brought down abruptly by Adam Cummins' challenge and referee Greg Aitken pointed to the spot. Iain Russell wasted little time in despatching the ball past William Muir, giving the keeper no chance.
The visitors pressed and a minute later Aiden Malone’s cross from the right picked out Darren Miller in space, although his header was wide of Ferguson’s goal.
Woods had a 20-yard shot in 19 minutes with Ferguson taking the ball at the second attempt.
Queens levelled matters in 23 minutes and it was another penalty award. Daniel Boateng barged into Dario Zanatta inside the box and Ross Millen fired the ball low into the net to make it 1-1.
Five minutes later Airdrie were back in front. Ryan’s strong running at the visitors was causing them continuous problems and once again as he powered into the box he was taken down by defender Ryan McGeever. Russell once again provided an accomplished finish, sending Muir the wrong way to fire his side back in front.
Boateng went close on two occasions as tried to atone for the penalty concession. With 35 minutes gone a corner from Ryan Conroy saw the defender rise to head towards goal, but a fine save by Muir sent the ball behind. In 37 minutes the big Englishman flicked the ball on from Conroy’s free kick and saw it just go past the post.
The Diamonds needed another goal as a cushion and got it in first half stoppage time. Conroy delivered an excellent front post cross from a corner which Scott Stewart attacked and powerfully headed the ball into the net with Muir's touch failing to keep it out.
After the interval Airdrie passed the ball with a degree of confidence and purpose while there was a mix to the build up from the back and effective long searching balls for which Ryan and Russell were willing runners.
Ferguson saved well from Zanatta’s 20-yard shot in 54 minutes, while Muir did likewise from Adam Brown’s effort inside the box four minutes later.
Joe Gorman turned a Conroy free kick high over Muir’s goal in 62 minutes.
Jack Leitch was unlucky not to score in 69 minutes after Ryan’s shot in the penalty box fell to the midfielder and he took the ball away from Muir before sending a shot against the post.
Queen's Miller made a decent run into the penalty area then blazed a shot high over Ferguson’s goal in 71 minutes in a rare second-half opportunity for the visitors.
Leitch’s attempted cross into the box saw Millen foolishly handle the ball allowing Airdrie to add a fourth goal in 75 minutes. Russell stepped up to fire home his third of the match from the spot ensure the points were won.
Substitute Kevin Schmidt was red carded in 87 minutes after kicking the ball at an opponent, as the clock ticked down.
The margin of victory improved the goal difference while the three points saw the club move up the table.
Referee: Mr Greg Aitken
John O'Brien at New Broomfield.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full-size.