PARTICK Thistle made full use of the first of their three games in hand on league leaders Morton to cut the Greenock side’s lead to five points and hand their new boss Alan Archibald his first win.
Resilient Hamilton Accies were looking to hammer down a mid-table spot but were left empty handed. Despite having more of the play Thistle were regularly thwarted by visiting keeper Kevin Cuthbert and were dependent for the points on a penalty goal in the second half from Aaron Muirhead
A corner forced in the first minute – albeit to no advantage – proved Thistle knew what the game was about. But Accies showed that the traffic was not one way, at this stage, a minute later.
The first clear chance of the evening ended when Steven May’s chested ball was hammered over the Jags’ bar by Darian Mackinnon.
Then intricate play in the home area allowed Jon Routledge to give Gillespie a clear view of goal and his low shot to the left was saved by Scott Fox at full stretch.
In the 18th minute the Jags looked to have opened the scoring. Muirhead’s header of a free kick by Stuart Bannigan seemed net bound until Cuthbert pulled off a magnificent save.
That heralded a period of Thistle domination notable for a flashing shot wide by Stephen O’Donnell and some excellent efforts by the Accies rearguard, notably one intervention by Alex Neil.
However the Accies’ foul count was mounting and the first yellow card of the evening was handed out by referee John McKendrick in 34 minutes to Jonathan Page for a late mid-field tackle on Muirhead.
As half-time approached the visitors’ goal again escaped unscathed when a shot by Sean Welsh was cleared off the line following a corner from the right by Steven Lawless.
There was still time for Steven Craig to mess up an opportunity for the Jags’ opening goal when he could only manage a tame shot following a clever pass from Lawless.
Accies again made a bright start to the half but Thistle got the goal they were looking for in 56 minutes when Muirhead drove home from the penalty spot after Erskine had been clearly upended by Accies defender Martin Canning.
Hamilton then had goalkeeper Cuthbert to thank when he saved a flashing shot from Erskine.
As time passed Accies got their wind back and Grant Gillespie should have done better than shoot tamely over with twelve minutes left.
Worse followed at the other end when Bannigan thought all he had to do was tap into an empty net, but he had not anticipated a wonder double save from Cuthbert.
Accies came close to snatching an equaliser when a long-range shot by Grant Gillespie was deflected wide of the post with Fox going the other way.
Partick Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Sinclair, Paton, Muirhead, Balatoni, Welsh, Bannigan, Craig (Doolan 81), Lawless (Forbes 90), Erskine. Unused Subs: Danniels, McGuigan, Archibald.
Hamilton Accies: Cuthbert, Gordon (McShane), Hendrie, Canning, Page, Routledge, Longridge (Crawford 81), Gillespie, May, Neil (Fisher 68), Mackinnon. Unused Subs – Devlin, Christie.
Referee: J McKendrick. Attendance: 2046