KRIS Boyd came off the bench to rescue a point as ten-man Partick Thistle were denied their first Firhill win over Kilmarnock in seven attempts.
The Jags deservedly led after Kris Doolan’s early strike before the visitors equalised against the run of play through Rory McKenzie.
Killie looked favourites to go on and clinch the points when Liam Lindsay was sent off, only for Doolan’s second to put Partick back in front. But the home side were denied when substitute Boyd headed a late leveller.
Alan Archibald, the Thistle manager, declared: “I’m not happy with a point because I thought we should have been out of sight.
“I had no complaints with the red card other than the defending that brought it about but the lads worked their butts off.
“We were at home and felt we had to go for it and I’m pleased with the chances we created.”
Thistle, having made the early running, struck to devastating effect when Doolan pounced on a slip by Lee Ashcroft before cutting inside Mark Connolly and despatching a drilled shot low in at Jamie MacDonald’s right-hand post.
The Killie keeper was on his toes minutes later to clutch Callum Booth’s deflected 25-yard shot as the Jags continued to look dangerous.
They might have doubled their lead when an extended goalmouth scramble resulted in Doolan’s snapshot hitting the outside of an upright and the striker was denied a second again when he volleyed just over following a near-post cross from Ryan Stevenson. It was almost one-way traffic towards the Killie goal as Thistle played with a real swagger, retaining possession with apparent ease. However, the second goal continued to prove elusive and the Rugby Park side, grateful to still be in contention, gradually grew in confidence.
Indeed, they almost scored with their first attack on 37 minutes when Steven Smith’s drilled cross from the left found Josh Magennis, whose first-time effort drew a brilliant instinctive block from the previously redundant Tomas Cerny.
MacDonald matched that effort with a similar one to deny Steven Lawless before Killie silenced the home support with a goal out of the blue.
The Jags were guilty of switching off at a Kilmarnock free-kick midway inside the home half and McKenzie was completely unmarked as he raced through to calmly beat Cerny.
Cerny came to Partick’s rescue on the stroke of half-time, the keeper turning a Magennis effort onto the post after the striker had held off Lindsay.
Magennis fired over after the restart while Kallum Higginbotham side-footed narrowly wide as a rejuvenated Rugby Park side confirmed their revival.
Thistle responded with a fierce Booth shot that MacDonald managed to parry before the ball was scrambled to safety. But the home side were dealt a severe blow when Lindsay was red-carded for a last-man tackle on Mark O’Hara.
The ten-men almost reclaimed the lead when Gary Fraser rattled the underside of the bar from Booth’s cross but the goal was only briefly delayed, Fraser swinging over a deep cross for Doolan who sprang the offside trap and easily beat MacDonald.
A morale-boosting win was just five minutes away when Boyd found space to head Higginbotham’s cross firmly into the net.
Killie boss Gary Locke said: “You’re never happy with a draw and it’s probably a game we should have won. Partick Thistle were the better side in the first 20-25 minutes but we got back into it.
“After they went down to ten men we put two up front and then managed to lose another bad goal which I thought was offside. But big Boydy has come up with a good header at the end.”
Partick: Cerny; Miller, Frans, Lindsay, Booth; Welsh, Bannigan; Amoo, Stevenson (Seaborne 66), Lawless (Fraser 54); Doolan. Subs not used: Scully, Wilson, Hendry, McDaid, Leyden
Kilmarnock: MacDonald; Westlake, Connolly, Ashcroft, Smith; Hamill (Splaine 80), O’Hara, Kiltie (Boyd 69), McKenzie, Higginbotham; Magennis. Subs not used: Barbour, Findlay, McCulloch, Davies, McLean.
Referee: Alan Muir. Attendance: 3,600.