Dundee United 1-1 Partick Thistle: Ian McCall backs Jags to beat drop

Precious point for Championship’s bottom side against league leaders

Dundee United's Dillon Powers, right, was on target against Partick Thistle. Picture: Ross MacDonald / SNS

Ian McCall has no doubts Partick Thistle will beat the drop after watching his team thwart Premiership-bound Dundee United.

McCall’s side earned a precious point against Robbie Neilson’s runaway leaders courtesy of Stuart Bannigan’s second-half penalty which cancelled out a spectacular 19th minute opener by Dillon Powers, pictured.

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Thistle are fighting relegation but never looked like a team who find themselves propping up the Championship table.

McCall, whose side remain three points behind second-bottom Queen of the South, said: “I’m incredibly confident that our long-term future will be absolutely rosy. But it’s the short term that’s important and we’ve got to win our next two home games against Dunfermline and Alloa.

“We are much better than we were a few months ago which gives us confidence.”

United made just one change from the side which drew with Ayr on Tuesday as Paul McMullan came in for Louis Appere, but it was the visitors who began brightest.

Zak Rudden sped clear wide on the left before squaring for ex-United ace Brian Graham whose shot was saved by Benjamin Siegrist. That sparked the hosts into life and, in 18 minutes, Ian Harkes’ shot was deflected wide of Scott Fox’s right-hand post.

But they didn’t have to wait too much longer as Mark Reynolds’ cross was only partially cleared by the Thistle defence as far as Powers.

The American took a smart first touch and wasted no time in lashing an unstoppable 22-yard effort high into Fox’s top corner.

However, in 52 minutes, United shot themselves in the foot.

Paul Watson pulled Tommy Robson back and referee Mike Roncone had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Bannigan oozed confidence as he stepped up to send a low penalty outwith the reach of the diving Siegrist.

United did try to regain the initiative and Harkes’ 67th minute driven shot from 25 yards was parried wide by Fox.

Then, in 70 minutes, Thistle’s Lewis Mayo was yellow-carded for going in from behind on Harkes.

United’s last throw of the dice was putting on Declan Glass for winger Rakish Bingham but the Jags held out on for a valuable point.

“It wasn’t one for the purist,” admitted United manager Neilson. “But if you look at the bigger picture we’ve gained another point with just eight games left.”