Tuesday 22nd February, 2022 at 11:43pm
After 10 days without a game, Partick Thistle returned to action with a Tuesday night game against Greenock Morton at Firhill.
Both sides were coming into the game following defeats with Morton having lost to Hamilton and Thistle to Dundee United in their most recent games respectively.
Ian McCall made two changes that started the Jags’ cup loss to United with Tunji Akinola returning to the side after suspension in place of Stephen Hendrie while Cammy Smith came in for the injured Scott Tiffoney.
Despite their extended lay-off, there were no signs of rust in the Thistle legs as they came close to an opener twice in the opening 60 seconds. A Cammy Smith cross into the Morton box was cleared straight to Ross Docherty who took a shot on first time. His drive was deflected and then saved by Jack Hamilton as the ball rebounded to Alex Jakubiak. The on-loan Dundee striker tried to fire it past Hamilton at the near post but the ‘keeper was once again equal to the hosts’ efforts.
Very quickly defence turned in attack for the visitors as they broke forward trying to catch Thistle’s backline cold. The ball was worked over to Jamie Brandon on the right flank and the number 12 zipped a low pass into the feet of Robbie Muirhead. The one-time Jag controlled and shot on the spin but his attempt flew far over the bar.
As the first half continued, it was the home side who took control of proceedings. A Brian Graham volley from the edge of the box had some Thistle fans celebrating as the net rippled but it was the side-netting the number nine found.
Alex Jakubiak then had another opportunity to open his Thistle account. Robbie Crawford played a well-weighted pass down the left channel to get the Englishman moving and Jakubiak was able to race into the box. He tried to prod the ball towards goal but couldn’t make substantial contact with the ball as it bounced harmlessly into Jack Hamilton’s arms.
The Maryhill men continued to press and could easily have been ahead on 28 minutes. A Stuart Bannigan corner from the Jackie Husband Stand side of the pitch was delivered onto the head of Ross Docherty who in turn flicked it towards the goalmouth area. Kevin Holt was making a dash towards the ball but could only lift his shot over the bar as he fell to the ground.
Coming out for the second half, the game was still trending in the Jags’ favour. Five minutes after the restart Cammy Smith became the latest player to go close for Ian McCall’s side as he latched on to a Brian Graham knockdown just inside the Morton half. He then used his pace to stride away from Brian McLean before firing a low shot towards goal. His effort was on target but Jack Hamilton was able to get a leg to it as he turned the ball away from goal.
The hosts were then presented with their best opportunity yet to take the lead as they were awarded a penalty in the 56th minute. Alan Lithgow barged into Brian Graham as a corner came into the box and referee Euan Anderson pointed to the spot immediately for the Jags second spot kick in as many league games. Graham had scored the previous one up at Inverness but couldn’t convert this time as Jack Hamilton produced some heroics to keep out his attempt. The ball fell back to the striker but he could only head it off the post before Kevin Holt was penalised for a foul as he tried to force the ball over the line.
The game became something of a slog after that as both teams pushed for a winner. Morton had their first shot on target of the game as Robbie Muirhead saw his free-kick from 30 yards out comfortably saved by Jamie Sneddon.
Then with their second effort on target, the Ton took the lead in the 80th minute. A high ball into the box was flicked on by Gozie Ugwu into the feet of Oisin McEntee. The Irish defender tried a quick shot which was blocked by Kevin Holt, however, the ball fell straight back to McEntee who slotted the ball into the bottom corner at the second attempt.
There were a couple of half-chances for the Jags late on but they couldn’t find a way to equalise as Morton took all three points from Maryhill.