Saturday 13th September, 2014 at 6:50pm
Thistle got back to winning ways following back to back defeats with a terrific 3-1 victory over league leaders Inverness Caley Thistle. In recording the victory the Jags also ended their unbeaten run and became the first team to score against them this season.
Alan Archibald made three changes with Scott Fox, Kris Doolan and Jordan McMillan coming into the team while Ryan Stevenson dropped into midfield to replace the injured Gary Fraser.
There was an early warning for the home side as careless play in midfield allowed Watkins to collect a loose ball before getting a 30 yard shot off which needed two attempts for Fox to gather after the Jags man spilled the first time.
Ross Draper was yellow carded for a shocking tackle from behind on Higginbotham who was given a stern word from the referee for his reaction. The visitors took the lead in the 13th minute when Raven and Christie exchanged passes and Doran fired home from 16 yards. It was a blow for the home side but, in reality, the men in red and yellow had looked nervous.
Thistle kept it together though and were level within six minutes.
Doolan did well to win a 50/50 ball and found Stevenson with a quick ball, his pass wide found Lawless who drove forward, turned his man and cut inside to curl a lovely left foot finish in off the far post to make it 1-1. The visitors almost hit back when the Jags defence got in a muddle and McKay beat Fox to the ball but couldn’t finish a move that was indicative of a great first half.
Bannigan then saw his shot deflected wide. Higginbotham took the corner and Osman scored his first goal for two and a half years as he bulleted a header past Brill to put Thistle 2-1 ahead. The visitors hit back with Doran beating Fox to the ball and flicking it past him but McKay couldn’t take advantage and Fox recovered well. McKay then lofted the ball over the bar from eight yards and saw an overhead kick saved just on half time.
Into the second half and again McKay spurned the chance to equalise from a Watkins knock down. Stevenson had the chance to go through but stopped to try and find Higginbotham when a direct run may have been the better option.
Watkins and Doran both had chances for the visitors with Fox making a smart save to deny Christie from the edge of the box.
At the other end, Brill made a good save from Stevenson after he and Doolan had linked up well but any chance of Caley getting back into the gane were put to the sword when Thistle got a third goal in the 71st minute.
Stevenson did well to win a header and sent Lawless through on the right, he cut inside his man and Higginbotham made a terrific late run across the Caley defence to collect Lawless’s pass and fire first time into the bottom corner past Brill to make it 3-1. A great goal and Higginbotham’s run was terrific.
Tansey had the ball in the net for the visitors but it was correctly chalked off for offside. Craigen fired over and had another shot brilliantly for the home side as Thistle closed the game out.
There was one final chance in the 90th minute when Thistle were awarded a penalty after Doolan was brought down following good link up play with Craigen. Thistle’s number nine stepped up to take the penalty himself but it was weak and easily saved by Brill as the game finished 3-1 to the real Thistle!
An excellent victory and the team showed character to come from a goal behind, we now look forward to building on the result against St Mirren on Friday night.