Jury still out after criminal mistakes cost Jags

THE case for the defence has not been convincing for Partick Thistle in recent weeks.

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Alan Archibald says bad defending was behind Jags draw
Alan Archibald says bad defending was behind Jags draw

While a lack of cutting edge was so often their downfall in the opening stages of the campaign, the spotlight has fallen on the Jags' rearguard following a run which saw them ship 14 goals in just five SPFL Premiership and William Hill Scottish Cup outings.

The three points which looked to be heading their way on Saturday afternoon would have been extremely welcome for Alan Archibald's side, but so, too, would the clean sheet after a much- improved defensive showing.

In the end, they were left with only a point to show from a 1-1 draw for their efforts, a second shut-out of the season slipping through their fingers in the dying seconds as Hibernian's pressure paid off and Thistle's resistance was broken by James Collins.

"I think it is natural [to drop deeper] when you get towards the latter stages," said Archibald.

"Terry Butcher's teams always throw everything at you. They brought the big lad (Michael) Nelson on and that is why we brought the young centre-half Liam Lindsay on to try and get another body in there.

"It was actually just down to bad defending that they scored, if Collins didn't score there was another man waiting. There was too big a gap.

"I have said it from the very start and I keep on saying it, that is the difference at this level. It is fine margins, you have got to defend to the final whistle."

Thistle may not have left the Capital with the victory they thought they had in the bag until the final seconds of stoppage time but there were reasons to be optimistic for the Firhill side as they collected their first point in over a month.

They looked to be heading for their fourth away win of the term when Kris Doolan capped a superb run with a dinked finish over keeper Ben Williams just after the break before the stage was set for Collins to break Thistle hearts.

Archibald's side are ninth in the Premiership and the Jags boss is keen to look on the bright side as they gear up for the festive period.

"It's an absolutely outstanding finish by Kris," he said. "We thought we could get a bit of joy off him. He works tirelessly up there, sometimes on his own, sometimes too much of a distance from the rest of the players, but what a goal. He took it from the halfway line and did fantastically well.

"It's a good away point and we'll go and build on it. Hibs are only three points ahead of us so we'll take the positives from it and move on - we've got two big home games coming up now."

Apart from the injury-time leveller, there were other downsides for Archibald after Steven Lawless and Kallum Higginbotham both left the field early due to injuries.

Lawless was stretchered off after just 30 minutes at Easter Road and will be assessed today as thoughts turn to the visit of St Johnstone this weekend.

Archibald said: "He got a dunt on his hip halfway through the first period and we had to change things about. We had a couple of changes, Kallum got injured as well.

"We will see how Steven is. Hopefully it is just a dead leg."

Football

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