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Partick Thistle 0-0 Inverness: Jags fail to sting

Inverness' Marley Watkins and James Craigen battle for the ball. Picture: SNS

Inverness' Marley Watkins and James Craigen battle for the ball. Picture: SNS

  • by EWING GRAHAME AT FIRHILL
 

The first-ever goalless draw between these clubs may not have produced a victor, but both benefited from the point gained.

Bookings: Partick Thistle - Elliott; Inverness - Williams, Watkins

Inverness have taken only five points from a possible 12 under John Hughes but this result saw them climb into third place, while their hosts also moved further away from Ross County in the play-off position.

Yet it was Alan Archibald who should have been celebrating a first home league win since April after his players dominated the Highland outfit for practically all of the second period, creating and squandering a series of chances.

It took a quarter of an hour before either side threatened. Partick’s Kallum Higginbotham collected a return pass from Steven Lawless, but Dean Brill’s outstretched leg deflected his angled drive behind. Four minutes later a short passback from former Hearts defender Conrad Balatoni was intercepted by Billy McKay, but the Premiership’s top scorer was denied by Scott Fox.

Hughes later claimed to have no knowledge of any interest in, or bids for, his most-prized asset but he will be hoping to keep him at least until the end of the current campaign.

It was an open game and Kris Doolan managed to get on the end of a cross-shot from James Craigen but, off balance, couldn’t direct his header on target.

Referee Willie Collum had earlier allowed a host of nasty challenges to go unpunished, but Christie Elliott could have had no complaint when he was cautioned for pulling down Nick Ross in the 42nd minute.

Stephen O’Donnell replaced the injured Jordan McMillan for the hosts at the interval and McKay almost caught out Fox with an audacious attempt from 40 yards in the 50th minute. However, Lawless ought to have put the home side in front five minutes later but failed to hit the target from six yards with a diving header from O’Donnell’s cross.

Failing to convert openings has been a recurring feature for the Glasgow Thistle this season and Higginbotham was wasteful on the hour, stealing in front of his marker only to volley a cross from Elliott over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

The home side were well on top by then but Craigen screwed a shot wide from the edge of the penalty area after Lawless had teed him up.

Inverness were just as profligate when substitute Ben Greenhalgh contrived to head wide from three yards after being picked out by Graeme Shinnie’s inviting delivery.

“It might have been unfair on Partick if we’d scored,” Hughes admitted afterwards.

Back at the other end, Lawless was once again the provider as Elliott’s shot was saved, low to his right, by Brill, who produced an even better stop when he dived to push away a swerving 25-yarder from substitute Ross Forbes.

“We played good stuff against a very good Inverness side so the boys weren’t too downhearted, but we’re desperate to win at home and get the monkey off our back,” said Archibald.

“I don’t know if you can try too hard to score but it’s like we’re hitting things too well. We’re looking for someone to roll one in the corner.

“But the players kept going, our fans were noisy and backed us and the team were desperate to win and confidence isn’t

affected, which is pleasing.

“Once the players cross the white line there’s not much I can do about the chances being missed. You can’t influence that,” added Archibald.

Partick Thistle: Fox, McMillan (Stephen O’Donnell 46), Piccolo, Balatoni, Sinclair, Craigen, Bannigan, Lawless (Baird 79), Higginbotham (Forbes 67), Elliot, Doolan. Subs not used: Muirhead, Paul Gallacher, Kerr, Wilson.

Inverness CT: Brill, Shinnie, Warren, Meekings, Tremarco, Ross Draper, Williams, Watkins, Doran, Ross (Greenhalgh 72), McKay. Subs not used: Esson, Raven, Devine, Polworth, Pepper, Agdestein.

 

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