TOMAS CERNY regularly turned on the style in these parts during five years as a Hamilton player and he returned to haunt his old club to ensure Thistle left with a vital point.
The Czech keeper was outstanding and his save in particular from Ali Crawford’s drive 19 minutes from time was quite remarkable.
However, he would probably not have been as busy had Brian Colvin not sent off Freddie Frans for two yellow cards with just 25 minutes of the game gone.
The problem for Colvin was that he harshly booked Frans for a challenge on Christian Nade in 15 minutes when it seemed he was simply challenging for the ball but his momentum brought down the new Accies striker.
So when Frans rather crudely fouled Antons Kurakins just outside the Thistle penalty area nine minutes later it was a clear yellow card offence and an early end to the match for the Belgian centre back.
Thistle boss Alan Archibald was caustic in his comments: “I thought the red card was very harsh. He said Freddie was rash but it was his second tackle in 25 minutes.
“As long he is consistent with it I have no qualms but I’m sure that won’t happen to every other team in the league, although it will probably happen to us again.
“The boys worked hard, our keeper was outstanding and we rode our luck at times in what as a tough start to the season.
“I was delighted with the young centre backs Jack Hendry and Lam Lindsay who handled the pressure so well. They were outstanding.”
It was undoubtedly an escape for Thistle and Hamilton will be kicking themselves that they did not make a winning start to the season.
Apart from Cerny’s wonder-save from Crawford, they had enough chances overall to have won the game comfortably and that is the most exasperating thing for manager Martin Canning.
They should have been two ahead before half-time.
Dougie Imrie was the architect on both occasions and he was as frustrated as the home fans that neither was converted.
In 37 minutes he cleverly cut back on to his left side to send an in-swinging cross towards the centre of the Thistle box where he had spotted Chris Turner but the new signing from Dumbarton headed weakly wide when he should have scored.
Then a minute before half-time – after Thistle had been on the offensive – Imrie burst down the right and measured a great pass for Crawford but the midfielder pulled his right-foot shot wide of the left post.
It was inevitable that Hamilton would enjoy more possession and that made life difficult for Partick as the game progressed.
Accies did their best to stretch their opponents but they needed invention and unsurprisingly it came from their playmaker Crawford.
He slipped a wonderful pass through to Louis Longridge in 66 minutes who suddenly found himself in space on the left side off the box but Cerny spread himself superbly to make a terrific blocking save from Longridge’s shot.
However, there was even better to come from the former Accie. After a patient build-up in 71 minutes Crawford showed fantastic technique with a left-foot shot from the edge off the box which seemed bound for the top left corner but somehow Cerny pushed it over the bar with his left hand.
It was desperate at times for Thistle who were hemmed in incessantly in the latter stages but they probably knew they were going to escape with a point in the 84th minute.
Substitute Greg Docherty beat Cerny with a crisp, measured left foot shot but it smacked the inside of the right post, bounced out and Thistle survived.
Canning said: “We deserved to win the game – even when it was 11 v 11 – and there was only one team in it after they went down to ten men.
“Ali missed a great chance just before half-time and if that went in it would have changed things.
“But he was very creative overall for us and Tomas made a fantastic save from his shot. If he had added a goal to his game it would have been an outstanding performance.”
Hamilton: McGovern; Gordon, Tena, Tagliapietra, Kurakins; Gillespie; Imrie (Kurtaj 69), Turner (Docherty 79), Crawford, Longridge; Nade (Morris 71). Subs not used: Hill, MacDonald, Watson, Boyd.
Partick: Cerny; Miller, Frans, Lindsay, Booth; Bannigan, Osman; Amoo (McDaid 56), Welsh (Wilson, 66), Stevenson (Hendry 29); Doolan. Subs not used: Scully, Leyden, Fraser, Nisbet.
Referee: Brian Colvin.