Wednesday 2nd March, 2016 at 2:40pm
Thistle travelled to Perth to take on St Johnstone looking to defeat the Saints for the third time the season. The sides had last met eight days ago at Firhill when goals from Kris Doolan and David Amoo sealed a 2-0 success at Firhill and the side were looking to gain another three valuable points.
Manager Alan Archibald made four changes to the side which fell to defeat in Motherwell on Saturday. Injury denied him the continuity of the same defence with Frederic Frans being replaced by Liam Lindsay. David Amoo, having greatly impressed in his substitute appearances makes a start in place of Christie Elliott. Aidan Nesbitt dropped to the bench to give Sean Welsh another opportunity in midfield while Mathias Pogba, so effective against St Johnstone last Tuesday night leads the line ahead of Kris Doolan.
Thistle got off to a dream start when Callum Booth, fresh from his first Thistle strike on Saturday, bagged his second. Stuart Bannigan spread the ball wide to Booth on the corner of the box. After looking to have lost the opportunity to have a go, he cut the ball onto his right foot to send a curled effort across Mannus and into the corner of the net.
Thistle were finding plenty of space in the St Johnstone half in the early stages and doubled their lead after only 13 minutes. Steven Lawless, who scored a screamer on his last visit to McDiarmid Park, found space on the edge of the box and he fired a low drive beyond the reach of Alan Mannus.
Thistle were full of confidence and Welsh was next to have a go but his drive fired high over the cross bar. Steven Lawless looked unplayable in the first half and from one of his surging drives, he was fouled by Anderson on the edge of the box. Sean Welsh produced a terrific full length save from Alan Mannus who tipped it around the post for a corner.
Thistle were dominating the early proceedings with Lawless forcing another excellent save from Mannus when the ball dropped to him on the edge of the penalty area. The only disappointment from the first half was that the side only had two goals to show for their effort.
St Johnstone made a half time substitution, introducing Kane in a bid to get back into the game and Thistle had to guard against the youngster. Thistle defended extremely well, restricting St Johnstone to long range efforts while also proving a threat on the break. Mathias Pogba worked a tireless shift up front as Thistle looked to get a third goal on the break.
Sean Welsh glanced a header into the arms of Alan Mannus from a cross as Thistle looked to put the seal on the game, but St Johnstone were to bag the next goal. Darnell Fisher fired over a harmless looking cross for Chris Kane to bundle the ball home from close range and fire the home side lifeline.
Saints took a lot of confidence from the goal and piled the pressure on Thistle for the equalising goal. Swanson and Wotherspoon fired off target from distance before Thistle were gradually able to take the sting out of the ascendancy.
Thistle were still dangerous on the break and could have added a third goal through Welsh. Stuart Bannigan picked up the ball just inside the Thistle half and, spurred on by the driving run of Welsh, played the ball right into the path of the midfielder who fired straight at Alan Mannus.
Pogba’s last impact on the pitch was to clear a dangerous St Johnstone free kick as all Thistle bodies defended deep to keep the lead for the Jags. He was replaced by Kris Doolan with five minutes to go, with the substitute almost having another immediate impact. He burst through the defence to face Alan Mannus once more. He fired a right footed effort towards goal which spun off the goalkeeper before a recovering defender hooked the ball off the line.
Steven Lawless had a tremendous game, getting hacked down consistently by St Johnstone bodies before having to come off with just a couple of minutes of the ninety to go.
With five minutes of injury time to navigate Thistle had to defend well and kept the ball deep in the St Johnstone half at times to see out the challenge. Craig Thomson blew the full time whistle to signal a fourth successive victory against St Johnstone, a first for the club, that saw the club climb to 7th in the Ladbrokes Premiership table.