Thursday 10th February, 2022 at 12:29am
After back-to-back 1-0 victories at Firhill, Partick Thistle were back on the road tonight as they travelled to take on Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium.
The Jags had struggled in their previous two meetings with Caley having lost 3-1 and drawn 0-0 with Billy Dodds’ side in prior meetings, however, with the Highlanders in poor form to start 2022, this game represented a good chance for the Maryhill men to leapfrog their opponents.
There was one change made by Ian McCall to the side which beat Ayr United eight days ago with Kevin Holt returning to the squad after injury to replace Richard Foster who picked up a knock last time out.
On a bitterly cold night in the North of Scotland, Thistle were able to heat up quickly and were ahead after eight minutes. Scott Tiffoney picked up the ball on the left flank and sped past David Carson with ease. He then drilled a low ball towards the goalmouth which ricocheted off of Brian Graham into the back of the net.
Unfortunately for the away side, the lead wasn’t long-lasting and it was a familiar foe who drew Caley level. It came via a cross from the right wing which dropped right on the foot of Billy McKay and the veteran frontman volleyed home for his sixth career goal against Partick Thistle.
The first half action roared on and Thistle came up with a counter-punch even more quickly than the hosts had. Just seven minutes after the leveller Scott Tiffoney was giving David Carson nightmares again as the winger drove past Caley’s number eight and lifted a cross to the back post. On hand to apply the finishing touch was Brian Graham who convincingly headed back across goal to make it 2-1.
Further half-chances followed for the visitors with Kevin Holt firing over the bar from the edge of the box twice and Scott Tiffoney forcing a good save out of Mark Ridgers as he looked to find the top corner, however, the away side let their guard down on the stroke of half-time and were punished. A corner swung in to the back post was won in the air by Shane Sutherland and, from five yards out, he forced the ball past Jamie Sneddon to restore parity once again.
Coming out for the second half, both teams had some possession without creating much until the 72nd minute when Thistle were awarded a penalty for the first time this season. Robbie Crawford was the man taken down as Robbie Deas caught the number 22 and it was Brian Graham who stepped up to take the spot kick. The number nine ran onto it confidently and smashed the ball past the goalkeeper who had dived the wrong way.
There was almost another lightning-quick response from the Highlanders as the ball fell to Sam Pearson in the box. The Bristol City loanee leathered a shot at goal which clipped the top of the crossbar and flew away from goal.
Caley Thistle went close again on 82 minutes as substitute Logan Chalmers stepped up to take a free-kick from 20 yards. The midfielder struck low and hard on the goalkeeper’s side with a shot which looked net-bound but Jamie Sneddon was down sharply to turn it away.
Just as it looked like Thistle had weathered the Caley storm and were going to take all three points back down the A9, the home side pounced. The second phase of an injury time corner saw the ball delivered into the centre of the box where Kirk Broadfoot was waiting. The centre-half, who scored against the Maryhill men earlier this season, headed goalwards and saw his effort find the back of the net with the help of a deflection.
And so it was late disappointment for Ian McCall’s side who missed the chance to move up two places in the league due to that late Broadfoot header. Now they turn their attentions to Saturday afternoon as they face Dundee United in the Scottish Cup fifth round. That one is a 3pm kick-off at Firhill.