Dundee manager Paul Hartley highlighted how the absence of Gary Harkins had affected his side as they claimed a rather fortunate 1-1 draw at Partick Thistle.
Partick Thistle 1-1 Dundee
Scorers: Partick Thistle - Craigen (58); Dundee - Balatoni (90 og)
Missing Harkins through suspension on Saturday – and a host of regulars through injury – Hartley’s side fell behind to a James Craigen strike before Phil Roberts’ cross was deflected in by the luckless Conrad Balatoni to gift Dundee a point in the final minute. It was the influence of Harkins which Hartley felt his patchwork side missed most, as they struggled to get any fluency into their play.
“I think we miss that creativity in the middle of the park,” Hartley said. “We just didn’t really have it today, we didn’t have that creativity in the final third.
“I thought our play was okay at times, but it just broke down in the vital areas. We’ve been creating chances but today and probably last week were the games when we’ve not been creating chances, especially for [David] Clarkson who’s not had anything in the last three games to feed off.”
With the Dundee squad at breaking point, Hartley conceded that it is vital he bolsters his numbers in the January transfer window.
“Thommo [Kevin Thomson] was struggling a little bit, [Simon] Ferry’s took a knock in the first minute on his ankle, the goalkeeper [Scott] Bain’s been struggling for five weeks with his shoulder and he just couldn’t play this week. He’ll go for a scan on Monday.
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“[Kevin] McBride got injured in the warm-up, we were going to try and put him on but his thigh was too sore, so we’re going to have to look at that with January coming up. We’ve had brief discussions about possibly bringing one in, in the next couple of days.”
Despite the paucity of options for Hartley, it was the introduction of Martin Boyle and Roberts in particular from the bench that provided the much-needed spark that eventually got them back into the game.
“That’s what they’re there for,” Hartley said. “When they come on they’ve got to make an impact and both of them did, especially Roberts on the wider area who put a couple of dangerous balls in. I’m pleased for him, he takes a shot at goal and we get a lucky break, but I think overall the players and the team have to play better.
“What I will give them credit for is their attitude. They never give up.”
Partick manager Alan Archibald was understandably frustrated with the late leveller, and despite a few late goals registering against his side in recent weeks, he feels that an old failing of losing late goals from last season isn’t returning.
“It’s bitterly disappointing but it could be a good point if we go to Motherwell and win next week,” Archibald said. “We’ve had a few [late goals against us] this year but there’s been totally a different look to it. If you watch the goal back it was from a keeper’s kick-out, we’re high up the pitch and not dropping back and it was a deflection as well, so it’s not a concern from that aspect.
“Last year we dropped back and had bad decision making, today it was a ball up the pitch and a shot wide that gets a deflection, and at Hamilton it was a shot from 25 yards.
“There’s not a lot you can do about those things, whereas last year it came from dropping back deep, too deep.”
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