Saints and Jags miss the point to open up the gap

THIS one was never going to be winner take all.

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Kris Doolan celebrates putting Partick Thistle in front but the lead was short lived
Kris Doolan celebrates putting Partick Thistle in front but the lead was short lived

But both Partick Thistle and St Mirren will see it as an opportunity missed.

In a congested battle to beat the drop from Scotland's top flight this term, every point will prove crucial come the final reckoning.

And while both collected one for their efforts last night, it was the full quota of three they would have wanted to give themselves a bit of breathing space at the foot of a crowded table.

Goals from Kris Doolan and Kenny McLean ensured the spoils were shared at Firhill but it is only come the final reckoning that both Alan Archibald and Danny Lennon will know if this was a good night's work or not.

These two went into their second post-split fixture in high spirits following respective wins over Kilmarnock and Hibernian last weekend but couldn't make it two from two in the bottom six shoot-out.

Thistle had playmaker Kallum Higginbotham to thank for their victory over Killie last weekend, the winger scoring and setting up the winner for Aaron Taylor-Sinclair at Rugby Park, and the former Falkirk star was once again the star of the show for the Jags last night.

After James Craigen failed to convert a teasing Higginbotham cross from the left flank, Doolan showed him how it was done with a neat header at the back post to add the finishing touch to a terrific centre from Thistle's key man.

It was an advantage Thistle certainly deserved as they recovered from a shaky start to take control of a combative encounter but it was the Saints would score the second of the evening before the first half was out.

Higginbotham was once again involved in the action and after he was adjudged to have fouled Jason Naismith.

And Saints midfielder McLean made no mistake from 12 yards as he fired beyond Paul Gallacher to pull the visitors level.

With little to choose between the sides, it was becoming a war of attrition in the middle of the park as both teams struggled to create clear chances but McLean did come close to his second of the night, his curling free kick narrowly missing the target.

At the other end, Thistle got their first clear sight of goal in the second half but Higginbotham's pinpoint delivery came to nothing as defender Lee Mair failed to test Dilo with a poor header.

Just seconds later, Christie Elliott, on for the unusually quiet Chris Erskine, couldn't add the finishing touch to another centre by Thistle's No.23.

As the game entered the closing stages, the pressure appeared to lift from both teams as they went in search of a winner.

And the Buddies almost had the breakthrough courtesy of the impressive McLean, the midfielder seeing his low drive crack Gallacher's post and bounce to safety.

The stage was set for a hero to emerge and give their side a huge boost in the battle to beat the drop and Lyle Taylor almost won it for the Jags, his looping header hitting the top of Dilo's crossbar.

In the end, both had to settle for what they had and will now wait anxiously for results across the country for the rest of the weekend as the fight for survival gets set to go down to the wire.

Football

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