Partick 1-0 Inverness: Late goal wins it for Jags

Partick Thsitle's Stuart Bannigan challeneges for the ball with Ryan Christie (right). Picture: SNS
Partick Thsitle's Stuart Bannigan challeneges for the ball with Ryan Christie (right). Picture: SNS
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A LATE goal from Steven Lawless was enough to end Partick’s long wait for back-to-back wins.

Scorer: Partick Thistle - Lawless 84

The Firhill side have not ­managed consecutive victories in the top flight for more than a decade, but they were finally rewarded when Lawless fired only his second goal of the campaign, his first also coming against Inverness.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said the match-winner, referring both to his goal and that elusive second win.

“It’s a monkey off our backs now. Everybody knew it was a while since we had won two in a row because it kept getting brought up.

“That’s us three points closer to Kilmarnock and, hopefully, we can push on up the way now.”

Partick forced several early ­corners, but were unable to breach a well-drilled Inverness defence.

Instead, Caley looked the more threatening when they raced to the other end, Ryan Christie darting into the box only to be brilliantly stopped in his tracks by Callum Booth’s well-timed tackle. The loose ball fell for Marley Watkins, but his mis-hit effort failed to trouble Scott Fox.

Booth was in action again to block Graeme Shinnie as he raced into the area following a neat one-two with Christie. And Christie almost made the breakthrough when he met a Josh Meekings’ cross with a glancing header, but Fox made a smart save.

The home side also went close through James Craigen, who was sent clear by Kris Doolan following a poor clearance by Ryan Esson.

However, the Caley goalkeeper atoned with a diving save low to his right to divert the ball for a corner.

It was one of few genuine ­scoring chances as both defences continued to enjoy the upper hand – as ­demonstrated by the busy Booth, who produced a crucial interception on the six-yard line following a cross from Watkins.

At the other end, a collection of Caley defenders dived in to block Ryan Stevenson’s 12-yard shot after Stephen O’Donnell’s long throw had caused problems.

The Maryhill men produced a definite threat on the restart when Stevenson’s fiercely struck free-kick was tipped over by Esson – though the goalkeeper would have had little chance if the effort had been a foot to either side.

Partick went close again when Lawless sent Doolan clear in the box, but Meekings lunged in with a vital block to deny the striker. Then Booth saw an angled drive flash inches wide as the home side pushed for that elusive breakthrough.

Caley disappeared almost entirely as an attacking force as the game wore on and their goal was finally breached when substitute Lyle ­Taylor fed Lawless on the edge of the box in the 84th minute and his drilled shot gave Esson no chance on its way into the bottom corner.

Home manager Alan Archibald said: “I didn’t know it had been so long since two wins in a row. It’s been lingering and every time we won one game it was brought up.

“We’re delighted with the win and we’ve now got more wins and more clean sheets this season than the whole of last season, which is very pleasing.”

Archibald’s Inverness counterpart, John Hughes, said: “We were the better team in the first half and should have scored if we’d been a bit more clinical.

“But we were miles off it in the second half and all credit to Partick.”

Partick: Fox; O’Donnell, Balatoni, Frans, Booth; Craigen, Osman, Bannigan, Lawless (Richards-Everton 90); Doolan (Taylor 67) Stevenson. Subs not used: Gallacher, Fraser, Wilson, McDaid, Keenan.

ICT: Esson; Warren, Meekings, Devine; Raven (Ofere 87), Draper, Tansey, Shinnie; Christie (Kink 66), Williams Doran 69); Watkins. Subs not used: Brill, Vincent, Ross, Tremarco.

Referee: Steven McLean. Attendance: 2,603

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