Aberdeen 0 - 0 Partick Thistle: Dons miss chance to go clear at top

Frustration from Aberdeen's Niall McGinn as a chance passes by. Picture: SNS
Frustration from Aberdeen's Niall McGinn as a chance passes by. Picture: SNS
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Aberdeen start the New Year as joint Premiership leaders on points but failed once again to fully exploit the situation after Storm Frank gave them the chance to blow Ronny Deila’s side off the top.

The horrendous weather that swept across the country yesterday forced the postponement of the defending champions’ trip to Dens Park and the Dons couldn’t make the most of the situation.

Derek McInnes and his players suffered more frustration after last weekend when drawing at home against Inverness Caley Thisle, the day before Celtic also drew at Tynecastle.

That was down to a surprisingly lethargic performance for the first hour before scrambling a point with a late fightback and there was a similar slip-up on this occasion.

Not that it was plain sailing against a Partick Thistle side who recovered from a stuttering start to show why they have been one of the form teams in the country lately.

They effectively disrupted the Dons flow after they threatened to produce a display that was as slick as the surface of a pitch that held up admirably considering the amount of water it has had to absorb in the last few days.

Jonny Hayes provided the early inspiration and while the Irishman revealed in the build up to the game that he rarely watches football as it does nothing for him, it’s certainly not a feeling reciprocated by those supporters who see Hayes in the sort of form he produced right from the start of this match.

Tomas Cerny had to deal with a couple of swerving crosses from the midfielder when he scurried clear down the right while poor Liam Lindsay was left bamboozled on the other flank.

The central defender was dragged way out of position by Hayes and even an attempt to impede the player failed miserably and only succeeded in earning him a booking.

That came in the wake of Hayes firing a parting shot into the side net but the real let off for the hard pressed Partick Thistle defence came in 19 minutes, created by Niall McGinn.

The Northern Ireland international drew two defenders to him, slipped the ball sideways to Graeme Shinnie and the full back cracked a 25-yard drive off the crossbar with Cerny beaten.

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From then until the interval Aberdeen’s play became progressively more ragged as they started to seriously struggle as they found it tough to breach an increasingly dogged Thistle defence.

They were solid, disciplined and well organised at the back with the Dons showing signs of real frustration that was also obvious in the dug out when Kenny McLean was booked for a collision with Ryan Edwards.

McInnes complained too loudly to the fouth official and referee Kevin Clancy was forced to go over and have a strong word with the Dons boss.

It looked as though the Partick players fancied their chances of snatching a goal on the counterattack the longer the game went on.

But that did leave them vulnerable when they pushed players forward and Hayes should have eased the pressure in 58 minutes.

Shinnie delivered a rare quality cross into the box, Ash Taylor headed it down but Hayes didn’t get enough on the volley to trouble Cerny.

Just like last weekend, Aberdeen seemed to save their best for the last half hour of the match with Cerny forced to make an important diving save to deny McLean’s long range shot.

The goalkeeper may have done well on that occasion but he needed help from Danny Seabourne to make an equally brilliant block to prevent McGinn scoring.

The introduction of Peter Pawlett for Ryan Jack when the Dons captain pulled a hamstring certainly added more impetus to the home side’s attacks as they forced Thistle to defend ever deeper.

But they were still willing to get forward when the chance presented itself and Stuart Bannigan was guilty of over confidence when in possession in the home box eight minutes from the end.

He had the chance to pick out a team-mate in a packed penalty area but sensed glory and sent a shot soaring high over the bar to let Aberdeen off the hook.

It was then that first Shinnie missed a golden chance to take his team to the top of the table before Adam Rooney of all people miscued in front of goal.

Aberdeen: Ward, Logan, Taylor, Reynolds, Shinnie, Jack (Pawlett 65), Flood, McGinn (Smith 83), McLean, Hayes, Rooney. Subs not used: Considine, Robson, Goodwillie, Quinn, Brown.

Partick: Cerny, Dumbuya, Lindsay, Seaborne, Booth, Osman, Edwards (Pogba 76), Lawless, Amoo (Wilson 90), Bannigan, Doolan. Subs not used: Miller, Scully, Frans, McDaid, Muirhead.