Saturday 17th October, 2015 at 3:05pm
Thistle returned to Ladbrokes Premiership action with a trip to Perth to play St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, a ground which Thistle hadn’t won at since November 1993. The side went into the game in high spirits having trounced Dundee United 3-0 in the match prior to the international break and were looking to pull the gap on the teams directly above them in the league.
Manager Alan Archibald made only one, enforced, change with Mustapha Dumbuya struggling with an illness picked up on international duty, allowing Gary Miller to face his former club. It was to be a change that had a direct impact on proceedings. Frederic Frans and Robbie Muirhead returned to the squad having missed the Dundee United game, but both had to settle for a place on the bench.
St Johnstone started the stronger and after five minutes it was looking like it was going to be yet another long afternoon in Perth for the Jags faithful. David Amoo, however, had other plans and he proved to be a valuable threat all game for Thistle. He sent over a cross which fell to the feet of Bannigan, who forced a good save from Mannus with a crisp volley. It was a sighter for the midfielder who fired inches wide from distance with the goalkeeper beaten all ends up.
Both sides were firing dangerous crosses into the box, but dogged defending, with a touch of luck, was proving to be valuable in each opposition box. Dave Mackay saw a free kick from 20 yards well saved by Cerny before Amoo used his paced to test Mannus after breaking away from the resulting corner.
With just under 30 minutes played, Thistle took the lead. The ball dropped to Gary Miller 25 yards from goal and his first time volley curled its way into the bottom corner of the net with a strike of outstanding quality. Liam Craig passed up a good chance to level by heading over from 6 yards out before Steven Lawless produced a sensational strike of his own.
A throw in was played in the direction of the winger, who allowed it to cross his body. From a fully 30 yards he smashed a shot high into the top corner to double Thistle’s lead.
Thistle had a couple of extra opportunities to extend the lead prior to half time but good defending from St Johnstone forced the side to settle for only a two goal lead. Manager Alan Archibald will have stressed the importance of not conceding an early second half goal, but Thistle being Thistle, did exactly that.
A cross from Cummins from the left hand side was nodded home by Steven MacLean from close range, taking his tally to 9 for the season. Liam Craig almost equalised moments later but Cerny was more than equal to his fierce drive.
The game was stretching from end to end at a fast tempo and Thistle were struggling to get a foot hold in the game. Bannigan and Osman went into the referee’s notebook presenting St Johnstone with favourable opportunities from free kicks, which Cerny dealt with comfortably.
With time winding down, slack play from Thistle almost gifted Saints an equaliser when MacLean rounded Cerny, but Miller and Lindsay managed to scramble the ball away. With five minutes to go the odds were stacked higher against Thistle.
A shot from Shaughnessy was blocked by Osman on the edge of the box, with referee Beaton awarding a free kick to St Johnstone having deemed it hit his hand. With Saints protesting for a penalty, he issued a second yellow card to Osman who had to make the long walk off the pitch. After a lengthy delay, MacLean fired the free kick wildly over the crossbar.
With four minutes of injury time to navigate, Thistle put in a dogged backs to the wall performance and held out to claim their first win at McDiarmid Park since November 1993.