STEPHEN O’Donnell’s goal against Hamilton ultimately guaranteed Partick Thistle an improved eighth-place finish in the SPFL Premiership at least but he still left New Douglas Park on Saturday with a bittersweet feeling.
The 22-year-old defender’s 72nd-minute strike – his fifth goal of the season – should alone have been cause for celebration over the weekend.
But with five minutes remaining he allowed 18-year-old Accies substitute Greg Docherty to get free and head in his first senior goal from an Ali Crawford corner, earning a 1-1 draw.
Instead of moving to within two points of their seventh-placed hosts, Alan Archibald’s men remain five behind with two games remaining.
Although the Jags have improved on last season’s tenth-place finish, O’Donnell, who admitted he was “poor” at Hamilton’s goal, was far from affirmative when asked if he would have settled for eighth before the start of the campaign.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It is a tough one. We improved on last season so at least you are moving forward.
“But when you look at the teams above us and with our quality, we could have been looking to finish sixth. But we didn’t and we are looking to finish seventh. Obviously eighth is not a bad season by any stretch of the imagination but we would have liked to have done more.
“It has been up and down. Along the way there have been some good performances and some great performances but we have been far too inconsistent.
“It was a problem last season and this season. We have improved recently.
“How you get consistency through a whole season I don’t know. But hopefully that will be the case next season.”
After coming from a goal down to beat Kilmarnock 3-2 at Rugby Park last week, Hamilton player/manager Martin Canning, who again left himself on the sidelines, was encouraged to see his side respond positively again to going behind.
He said: “It wasn’t much of a game, it was a typical end-of-season affair.
“The pleasing thing is last week we lost the first goal and came back to win, and this week we lost the first goal and we took something from the game.
“That shows character and that’s something we don’t lack. The boys are desperate to do well and win every game.”