Sunday 20th October, 2013 at 2:18pm
The early departure and long journey to Inverness proved worthwhile for the 340 Thistle fans who forego the opportunity to watch the game on the television and took the road north as The Jags returned to winning ways against the division’s second placed team.
Thistle’s last outing had seen them slide to a scarcely deserved defeat at the hands of Hibernian and the manager in the main kept faith with the players that performed well, even in defeat, in that match; the only change seeing James Craigen start in place of Steven Lawless.
It was the home side that took the early initiative in this match and Aaron Muirhead found himself in the referee’s book inside the first two minutes of the game after a foul on Nick Ross who threatened to break clear of the Thistle defence. Aaron Doran’s free kick, however, went wide of target.
Inverness’ direct approach to the game though looked as if it might bring them some early reward and the side with a hitherto 100% home record were close to taking an 8th minute lead when a Ben Greenhalgh shot rebounded off Scott Fox’s post.
It was Thistle though that opened the scoring in the 19th minute. Kris Doolan’s finish was of the highest quality but it was exceeded by some excellent build up play culminating in Kallum Higginbotham and James Craigen combining to give Doolan his opportunity.
Thistle had Scott Fox to thank for maintaining their lead five minutes after Doolan’s opening goal; the Thistle keeper producing an excellent stop to tip a long range effort from Draper over the crossbar.
Although the home side were doing the bulk of the pressing Thistle weren’t without a threat of their own and after 30 minutes another fine passing move provided James Craigen with a shooting opportunity at the edge of the Inverness box but he could only send his shot over the bar.
Stephen O’Donnell too was off target with a shot after Higginbotham had laid the ball back into his path as Thistle grew in confidence.
It did look, however, as if they were to be denied a half-time lead with Inverness netting an apparent equaliser with half-time mere seconds away. Sean Welsh had cleared a McKay effort off the line following a corner on the right but when Doran lashed the ball home it appeared as if Welsh’s goal line heroics had been in vain. However, just as the home side were enjoying their celebrations the assistant referee drew attention to an issue with Draper’s corner and the ‘goal’ was disallowed.
Inverness were level though inside 60 second half seconds. A free kick from the left hand side was met by the head of Gary Warren and his header found the back of the net.
The home side were probably the favourites at this stage to gather all three points and they had the ball in the net again in the 62nd minute with Foran the man this time to be denied a goal following a foul on Scott Fox.
While the home side had plenty of pressure it was only really a set pieces that they genuinely posed a threat to the Thistle rear guard although a cross from the right from substitute Watkins was begging for a finish from an Inverness foot.
It was Thistle though that would grab a winner with 8 minutes remaining. There was a touch of good fortune surrounding this goal with Brill fumbling a Taylor-Sinclair cross but displaying all the predatory instincts of a good striker, Kris Doolan was on hand to force the ball home.
Thistle still had to endure some hefty Inverness pressure in the time that remained before they could celebrate a hard fought three points. Twice in injury time Inverness forced corner kicks before Foran nodded their last chance of the afternoon over the bar.