Partick Thistle made the most of what’s become a happy hunting ground of late to reach the Scottish Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2008. Having secured victory on their last four trips to McDiarmid Park, they’ll be hoping for a kind draw and the chance to end a 15-year drought without a trip to Hampden in either of Scotland’s premier cup competitions.
While recent form will be a factor in preparation for any match, there is something about the standalone nature of cup football that enables a team to push misfortune to the back of their minds. Thistle took full advantage of this quirk of psychology as they were able to defy recent scoring toils by netting the game’s only goal inside seven minutes.
“I think it was important we got the goal early on to give the players the belief,” said victorious boss Alan Archibald. “We’ve been struggling a little recently, though we’ve been creating chances. Hopefully that gives them the confidence going forward.”
They’d gone 413 minutes without scoring against top-flight opposition when Steven Lawless was fed by Sean Welsh down the left. The winger picked out Adam Barton with a low cross and the midfielder showed the required composure to pass the ball beyond Zander Clark.
Ade Azeez had a shot deflect off Joe Shaughnessy and drop inches wide moments later, before Danny Swanson went close for the hosts with a volley from the edge of the penalty area. The game entered a slumber for the next 20 minutes before bursting back into life as half-time approached.
After Swanson had a weak effort easily held by Tomas Cerny, the visitors then passed up two great chances to extend their advantage. Liam Lindsay headed over from a Welsh corner, and when Thistle streamed forward a minute later on the counter it looked certain that David Amoo would find the back of the net. The wide-man did everything right, as he controlled a pass from Ryan Edwards before dribbling into the heart of the box, but Clark was somehow able to produce a fantastic reactionary save.
Each side went close in the space of 60 second-half seconds as Welsh curled a long-range effort narrowly wide before a looping half-volley from Steven MacLean dropped over the crossbar.
Thistle passed up another great chance to extend the lead when Clark saved from Lindsay. The ball rebounded to Amoo who was able to control but fired his close range effort off Steven Anderson, who was lying on the deck.
As Thistle began to tire, the hosts were able to create two chances in the closing stages. Richard Foster was involved in both as he cut the ball back for Blair Alston to curl a shot wide of the far post, and then crossed again for Chris Kane to attempt an acrobatic effort that flashed by the target.
Kris Doolan was denied the chance to seal it when his close-range effort was blocked by Brian Easton.