Hamilton 1-1 Partick Thistle: Accies recover for point

Hamilton's Grant Gillespie (left) battles with Gary Fraser. Picture: SNS
Hamilton's Grant Gillespie (left) battles with Gary Fraser. Picture: SNS
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SUBSTITUTE Greg Docherty’s late header gave Hamilton a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw against Partick Thistle at New Douglas Park.

Scorers: Hamilton - Docherty 85′; Partick Thistle - O’Donnell 72′

Alan Archibald’s 100th game in charge of the Jags looked to be bringing three Scottish Premiership points when defender Stephen O’Donnell drove past Michael McGovern in the 72nd minute.

But with five minutes remaining Docherty, on in the 80th minute for Darian MacKinnon, headed in an Ali Crawford corner to maintain seventh-placed Accies’ five-point gap over the Maryhill men with two games remaining.

Despite the late drama it was no classic.

In a first-half punctuated with injuries - Accies defender Michael Devlin was carried off on a stretcher in the 15th minute with a knee injury - striker Lyle Taylor missed a great chance for Thistle by blasting over the bar.

Just before the break Hamilton defender Jesus Garcia Tena cracked the crossbar with a free-kick but the two goals brought some much-needed excitement to the second period.

With neither side in danger of relegation, there was a definite end of season feel to this encounter.

The unchanged home side had a couple of early efforts, the first a drive from wideman Dougie Imrie before midfielder Kieran MacDonald missed a much better chance moments later when, with only Scott Fox to beat, he hit a tame left-footed volley straight at the Maryhill keeper.

What little momentum had gathered in the game came to a sudden stop when Devlin collapsed to the artificial turf.

The stopper required several minutes of attention before he was taken straight up the tunnel on a stretcher, replaced by Lucas Tagliapietra.

Thistle midfielder Ryan Stevenson’s powerful free-kick from 25 yards in the 22nd minute looked dangerous enough but was grabbed out of the air by Accies keeper McGovern with understated assurance.

The Hamilton number one, however, should have been picking the ball out of the net seconds later when Taylor was sent through by Kallum Higginbotham but the Firhill striker lashed his shot wildly over the bar.

A tangle between Jags stopper Callum Booth and Imrie inside the box brought some weak penalty claims from the home fans which were ignored by referee Stephen Finnie and the calm soon returned.

Just after the half-hour mark Stevenson was helped off after sustaining a knee injury, replaced by Gary Fraser.

McGovern was almost caught out by a Higginbotham cross which swerved off course and almost sneaked in under the bar.

Near the end of the elongated first period - six minutes were added on for injuries - Tena to beat Fox with a curled free-kick, only to see the ball bounce down off the bar and cleared to safety by the Thistle defence with no real Hamilton claims that it had crossed the line.

Both sides opened up in the second half and Fox made a decent save from Accies substitute Nigel Hasselbaink, on for Jason Scotland on the hour-mark, tipping his lob over for a corner which came to nothing.

There were some questions to be asked about the Accies defence when the Jags opened the scoring, Higginbotham all too easily allowed to set-up O’Donnell, whose right-footed shot from 14 yards settled in the far corner of the net.

It looked like the game was heading for a draw until Docherty popped up at the back post in the 85th-minute to power a header past Fox, with both sides probably happy enough with the point.