Saturday 15th August, 2015 at 3:18pm
Thistle returned to Firhill for the fourth game of the Ladbroke Premiership season with Jags fans still waiting for the team to score the first goal of the campaign. Manager Alan Archibald was hopeful that his creative forward players would be able to find a bit of form and claim the first three points of the young season.
He was enforced into two changes as injury denied him the services of Mathias Pogba, who left the Inverness game in its infancy, while Abdul Osman wasn’t able to shake off a knock picked up in the later stages of the contest. Kris Doolan came into the starting line up, while Ryan Stevenson lined up in his usual number 10 role.
This showed urgency right from the very start of the game and set about trying to break the deadlock early on. Frans was first to threaten with a flick from a free kick but it wasn’t long before Thistle opened the scoring.
High pressing from Thistle saw Doolan beat Ashcroft to a loose ball. A nimble touch took him past Connolly before he fired past MacDonald to open the scoring. Thistle continued to have the better of the game with Doolan once again in the thick of the action. Stevenson flighted in a free kick which dropped to Welsh. His shot was blocked by Hamill before falling to Doolan who curls a shot off the post.
Steven Lawless was the next to try his luck, curling a shot inches wide of MacDonald’s goal. Thistle’s dominance continued but despite the best efforts of the forward players, a second goal could not be found and they were made to pay for it on 37 minutes. Magennis had come close with a previous effort from inside the box, forcing Cerny to make a tremendous stop. He was fouled by Lindsay on the half way line, and with the Thistle players waiting for a yellow card for the defender, the free kick was taken quickly finding MacKenzie in acres of space before slotting past the helpless Cerny.
Thistle were fortunate not to go in behind as Magennis got clear of Lindsay and forced a good stop by the goalkeeper.
Kilmarnock started the second half stronger and Higginbotham was unlucky to see a shot go just wide of target after Cerny had blocked a Magennis drive.
The game swung in favour of Kilmarnock when Liam Lindsay earned a red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity. He stood on the ball, allowing Mark O’Hara to drive ahead of him resulting in the defender pulling him down 25 yards from goal. Higginbotham’s resulting free kick was fired straight at Tomas Cerny.
With a mans advantage the majority of the 3,600 crowd thought Kilmarnock might go on to seize the initative but it was Thistle who had the better of the chances. Fraser got on the end of a cross ball, turning in the box before smashing the bar with his shot. Miller was continuing to provide a valuable outlet on the right hand side and fired over a free kick which went out for a corner kick. From the resulting corner, the ball was worked back to Gary Fraser, his cross found Doolan onside at the back post. A composed touch from the striker was followed by a thunderous shot and Doolan had netted goal number 77 of his Thistle career.
It was a lead Thistle could only hang onto for seven minutes. A corner was cleared back in the direction of Higginbotham who swung over an excellent cross for Boyd to header at the back post and bring Kilmarnock back on level terms.
Thistle had one last chance to retake the lead as Seaborne got his head to a corner but MacDonald was more than equal to the effort and Thistle had to share a point with Kilmarnock, in a match that they dominated for the first 35 minutes.