Thistle were denied their first win since the opening day of the league season when substitute Chris Burke came off the bench to rescue a point for the Staggies with an equaliser five minutes into stoppage time, and but for a stunning save from Ryan Scully from Ryan Dow, the Dingwall side might have taken all three.
It was a clash between the two most out of form sides in the Premiership, with the Jags having failed to win in their previous eight outings and the Staggies in their last six, so something, it was thought, had to give.
County manager Jim McIntyre said: “I thought Thistle were excellent in the first half. Their shape and system dominated ours. We were far more effective in the second and the character our boys showed was fantastic. But the key moment was the penalty not given. It was stonewall, he had to give it. I felt it was our chance gone, but Burke came on and gave us quality and it was a fabulous finish.
“On the balance of play a draw was a fair result.”
Nerves were aplenty with both sides flooding the midfield. After 11 minutes Thistle’s Ade Azeez drew a foul from Andrew Davies, who was booked for his trouble. Sean Welsh floated in the free kick from the right, but Liam Lindsay was just off target with his 12-yard header.
County,who had failed to find the net in their last three matches and still without the prolific Liam Boyce in attack, relied on Craig Curran and Alex Schalk up top. The pair combined well in 17 minutes to carve an opening but Lindsay put in a superb block to prevent Curran from opening the scoring.
Thistle, who have only failed to score in one of their last 11 competitive home fixtures, kept that run going when they went in front in 24 minutes. Welsh fired over an outswinging corner from the right for Kris Doolan, arriving late in the box, and was barged to the ground by Ryan Dow. Referee Don Robertson pointed to the spot and Welsh dispatched the ball beyond County goalkeeper Scott Fox.
The Jags continued to dominate and three minutes from the break Adam Barton cracked a fierce shot from 20-yards which swerved just over the bar, with Fox back-peddling.
For all that, the Staggies might have levelled in 56 minutes when Martin Woods’ shot was blocked and fell perfectly for Curran, but his 15-yard curler crashed off the base of the far post. Thistle regained their composure and two minutes later Danny Devine hooked over from 12-yards.
The game was delayed for six minutes when Lindsay went down heavily in a nasty collision with team mate, goalkeeper Ryan Scully, which required lengthy treatment before being carried off by medics, replaced by Ziggy Gordon. He was taken to hospital for a precautionary check.
The lengthy stoppage didn’t seem to disrupt Thistle’s flow and three minutes after the restart superb play in midfield by Ryan Edwards found Welsh in space, but his terrific effort from 20 yards flew just over.
County rang the changes and gradually began to gain more possession in the latter stages and two minutes from the end substitute Chris Burke curled a left foot long range effort wide of Scully’s right hand post. Burke was involved again a minute later when he went down in the box after a challenge from Azeez, but the referee waved away the claims.
Five minutes into stoppage time, Burke latched on a loose ball as he burst in from the right and buried it into the far corner of the net to grab a dramatic point. Seconds later Dow found himself in front of goal, but Scully’s outstretched leg saved a point for the Jags.
Thistle manager Alan Archibald said: “We should have defended better and seen the game out.”