After the disappointed that was the 3-1 reverse to Livingston it came as little surprise that manager Jackie McNamara made changes to his team for the visit of Morton. Scott Robertson, Sean Welsh and Stuart Bannigan all dropped out of the side, the first two at least have the consolation of a seat on the bench. In their place came Club Captain Alan Archibald, free from suspension, Aaron Sinclair, recovered from injury, and Christie Elliott as Thistle aimed to make it a third win of the season against Morton.
The manager had expressed his hope for a positive response to the Livingston defeat and he certainly got that in a first half that Thistle dominated from almost start to finish. They didn’t, however, find the goal or goals to reflect that domination.
Chris Erskine was prominent in Thistle’s early thrusts towards the Morton goal, twice seeing crosses cleared by a Morton defence that found themselves on the back foot from a very early stage of the game.
It was Kris Doolan though that was the major threat to the Morton goal during the first 45 minutes. He first forced Colin Stewart into action in the 12th minute. Stephen O’Donnell pushed forward on the right inside before cutting the ball inside to Doolan who ignored Cairney to his left and was frustrated to see Stewart deny him a goal with a fine save.
Stewart should have been beaten, however, six minutes later. Doolan gathered a through ball and with no flag for offside found himself with just the Morton keeper to beat. His shot though lacked power and Stewart was able to touch the ball round the post for a corner.
Thistle continued to dominate and in the 26th minute Doolan’s clever flick took him clear of the Morton defence but was this time tackled before managing a shot.
Still the chances came. Chris Erskine was the next to come close with a shot from the edge of the box while an excellent move involving David Rowson and Paul Cairney finished with Kris Doolan’s flicked effort just clearing the bar.
Only once in the first half did Thistle suffer any real anxiety. In the 34th minute Archie Campbell went to ground inside the Thistle box following a challenge from Scott Fox but referee Allan was interested in Campbell’s pleas for a penalty, instead booking the Morton player for diving.
Thistle started the second half in much the same fashion that they had finished the first. Christie Elliott did well right on the goal line to keep the ball in but Chris Erskine was beaten to the ball when attempting to reach Elliott’s cross.
Thistle did finally have the ball in the net in the 53rd minute but the goal was disallowed for offside. Paul Cairney was the creator setting up Chris Erskine. Erskine though ignored the opportunity to shoot for goal himself and elected to square to Doolan who although knocking the ball home was in an offside position.
As much as Thistle were in control of this game they nearly found themselves trailing incontroversial circumstances in the 59th minute. Stephen O’Donnell’s tackle on Peter MacDonald was adjudged to be a foul and the referee pointed to the spot. Morton though couldn’t take advantage of their good fortune with Archie Campbell blazing the ball high over the bar.
The second half was proving to be a much more even affair and Morton had another excellent opportunity to score in the 72nd minute. Alan Archibald’s, who was otherwise excellent on his return, miscue gave Peter MacDonald a clear sight of goal but Scott Fox was able to make an important save with McGeouch unable to force home the rebound.
Paul Cairney’s final involvement in the game before being substituted by Tommy Stewart was to sent the ball over the bar after a corner had only been partially cleared.
At the other end the pace of Archie Campbell was posing problems but when given a shooting opportunity he couldn’t find a way past Scott Fox.
It was becoming more and more surprising that this entertaining game was still goalless. An Aaron Sinclair cross from the left was missed by everyone and there were loud appeals for a Thistle penalty when Kris Doolan appeared to be barged to the crowd just inside the box seconds before Christie Elliott shot just wide.
Both sides in injury won corner kicks as they attempted to find a late winner. Thistle dealt comfortably with Morton’s but Thistle’s nearly, and perhaps should, have produced a goal. The ball broke to Tommy Stewart who instead of shooting tried to find a team mate.