In a thoroughly entertaining encounter, the Ayrshiremen were ahead through firstly Kris Boyd and then Soulemayne Coulibaly, but Stevie Lawless and Liam Lindsay produced equalisers.
The result lifted the Maryhill side off the bottom on goal difference, but they are surely bound for a loftier position if they can maintain the same level of commitment and belief.
They were denied what seemed a clear penalty before they tied the game for a second time and then substitute David Azeez missed a glorious chance in added time.
Manager Alan Archibald, however, was reasonably satisfied. He said: “I think it was a good point when you are twice behind.
“We showed great character both times to get back into the game but at the same time we missed a one on one with 30 seconds to go but there is always that wee bit of what if.”
Killie took the lead in 17 minutes and it was a poignant moment for Kris Boyd, who attended the funeral of his brother Scott only three days earlier.
The predatory striker took full advantage of sloppy Thistle defending to toe-poke a left-foot shot into the left corner and pointed to the heavens in tribute to the 27-year-old.
Thistle equalised in 33 minutes when Stevie Lawless took David Amoo’s cross in his stride and shoot home from close range.
The game’s most contentious moment came in 63 minutes when Killie substitute Nathan Tyson seemed to bring down Lawless as he tried to collect Erskine’s excellent pass, but referee Andrew Dallas adjudged there was no foul.
To rub salt into their wounds, Thistle lost a second goal two minutes later when they failed to deal with Dean Hawkshaw’s long ball into the box and Soulemayne Coulibaly craned his neck to head home at the back post.
Alan Archibald’s side kept fighting and they found a second leveller seven minutes from time. Erskine’s deep free kick to the back post caused havoc and although MacDonald blocked Doolan’s effort, Lindsay followed up to slam in the rebound.
Midfield enforcer Abdul Osman was sent off for two yellow card offences in quick succession. However, his side might have won the game when Azeez was through on MacDonald, but watched in horror as his attempted lob was saved.
Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark accepted a point was fair and praised the bravery of striker Boyd.
He said: “We’re delighted for Kris, he’s had a tough 10 days, and obviously he had the funeral of his younger brother on Thursday. I had to keep an eye on him, but he’s responded in the right way and young Scott will be looking down on Kris with a lot of pride.
“We’re delighted that it was written for Kris today.”