Saturday 14th May, 2016 at 2:31pm
The final game of the 2015/16 season saw Thistle host Hamilton in a game that had little riding on it bar pride.
Manager Alan Archibald was still down to the barebones and he made only two changes from the side which drew 3-3 with Dundee United on Tuesday. Gary Miller replaced Liam Lindsay in defence, allowing Frederic Frans to shuffle to his customary positon of central defence. Sean Welsh missed out through injury allowing Aidan Nesbitt a start in the final game of his loan from Celtic.
Before the game got underway Firhill rose for a minute’s applause in memory of Ricky Roughan who tragically passed away in the early hours of Tuesday.
Thistle started the game brightly with Doolan and Nesbitt linking up in the opening sixty seconds before the on-loan youngster found himself crowded out by Accies defenders. Doolan was at it again seconds later when he played in David Amoo. The winger forced a tremendous save from Martin.
From the first corner of the game, Thistle took the lead. Penrice’s delivery wasn’t dealt with by the Hamilton defence, Thistle kept the ball alive and Doolan was able to head home at the back post.
An incredibly open game saw both sides creating chances in the opening stages and with ten minutes played Accies were level. A chipped ball into the box was deflected by Miller. Nobody tracked a Hamilton run into the box and Scully clipped the player with his feet leaving Muir with little choice but to award the spot kick. Brophy sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with an excellent low kick.
Thistle were passing the ball around well with the confidence of a team looking for the three points with Lawless forcing a great save from Martin in the Hamilton goal. The corner was cleared for a second and Thistle regained the lead. Penrice again whipped over a terrific delivery, Frans, again, flicked it on and David Amoo bundled home at the back post.
Having just taken the lead, Thistle conceded it quickly when Brophy pounced on a hopeful through ball, rounded Scully and tapped into the back of the unguarded net.
At this stage, the game threatened to trouble the record books with both teams attacking at will. Penrice whipped over a tremendous cross from the left hand side, Doolan had to adjust his body but couldn’t steer his header on target.
The game lost a bit of its tempo in the remaining first half and there were no further chances in the first half allowing both teams to go in at the break level at two goals apiece.
Accies made a strong start to the second half and after breaking from a Thistle corner, Brophy thumped an effort of Ryan Scully’s post.
Hamilton passed up a gilt edged chance 10 minutes into the second half when Crawford beat the offside trap to tee up Boyd. The youngster blazed the effort wide of goal when he should really have tested Scully in the Jags goal.
Nesbitt was a growing influence in the game and after he fired into the side netting of the goal, he teed up Edwards who fires straight at the goalkeeper.
In an unusual occurrence for a Thistle game, a water break was required just after 15 minutes in to the second half and once the game got back underway Penrice was next to have an effort on target.
As a 65th minute’s applause for Ricky travelled around the ground, Gary Miller was treading a fine line with a couple of challenges before finally ending up in the referees notebook with 67 minutes on the clock.
Nisbet wasn’t short on confidence and he was freely having efforts on goal when the ball dropped to him but wasn’t troubling Martin in the Hamilton goal. His flick on, from a Scully goalkick presented Nesbitt with a clear route through to goal. He dinked the ball over Martin only to be denied by the crossbar.
Play raged up the other end and Brophy struck the wood work again when a curled effort from 16 yards hit the crossbar.
The game was continuing to be an exciting end to end affair and after slick play from Nisbet, he was able to play in Lawless at a tight angle. He rounded the goalkeeper but with too acute an angle to shoot, he could only cut the ball back. Pogba couldn’t bundle the ball home but Accies struggled to clear. Nesbitt collected the loose clearance but curl the ball wide by a couple of feet.
As the game entered the final stages there were no serious efforts on goal. Greg Docherty did well to beat James Penrice but D’Acol could only fire over the bar from his cross.
The game fizzled out and when the full time whistle blew Thistle had to settle for a point in a game they twice led. Thistle finish the 2015/16 campaign with the same points tally as last campaign, but finish a place lower in the Ladbrokes Premiership table. The countdown of two months and two days until the next competitive game begins now.