THIS game rather neatly summed up the well-worn cliché about football being a game of two halves, in that the first half was an affront to the eyes while the second was a rather thrilling contest with three splendid goals.

Unfortunately for Partick Thistle and their long-suffering fans, they were far more Hyde than Jekyll on the night as they ultimately have been throughout the season, and the really dark side of this defeat to Inverness is that they are fast running out of games to avoid a truly grisly end to their campaign.

Goals from the excellent Aaron Doran and Tom Walsh sandwiched by a Stuart Bannigan strike for Thistle were enough to earn the visitors three points that takes John Robertson’s men into the top four in the table and right in the hunt for promotion.

“It’s a good one for us,” said Caley manager John Robertson. “We’ve got five massive matches coming up before the semi-final and it was important that we won tonight and then carry that into next week when we have three home games in seven days. We could make a real statement, but it was important to win tonight.”

The game, much like the frozen spectators upon their return home, took an eternity to warm up. It wasn’t until 10 minutes before the break that either keeper was unduly exercised, and even then, Jamie Sneddon in the home goal fielded a Joe Chalmers shot simply enough.

Almost immediately after that though there was a let-off for Thistle as Aaron Doran made an out-to-in run that was to become a feature of the night, allowing him through on Sneddon, but from a tight angle he dragged the ball wide of the opposite post.

Mark Ridgers saw almost as much action in goal as he did when he was on the books of Firhill. Which was not a lot. But Sneddon was called into action again just before the break as he did well to get down and claw away a header from Jamie McCart that looked to be sneaking into the bottom corner.

It couldn’t be any worse from the home side in the second half, and they thought they had taken the lead not long after the break when Steven Saunders bundled home after a stramash only to be denied by the offside flag.

The introduction of Blair Spittal in place of the ineffective Gary Harkins on the hour spiced things up too, but just as it looked as though Thistle were taking control, Inverness broke to take the lead.

A pass forward by Carl Tremarco was brilliantly dummied by Jordan White, taking the entire Thistle backline out in one fell swoop as Doran ran clear. He took his time, drew Sneddon, and fired home into the bottom corner.

Suddenly we had a game on our hands, and Thistle hit back immediately in stunning style. That man Spittal was at the centre of it, playing a ball into the feet of Scott McDonald who cushioned it beautifully for Bannigan to curl into the far corner of Ridgers’ net for his first goal since October 2015.

McDonald and Spittal were linking up brilliantly, and the former dinked a ball over the top for the latter to clatter the outside of the post.

Caley were still looking a threat though, and it was they who got the killer goal as Doran latched onto a Liam Polworth ball that was missed by Steven Anderson, flicking it up for substitute Tom Walsh to lash a thunderous volley beyond Sneddon that hit the net before the keeper had moved.

“It’s a huge disappointment,” said Thistle boss Gary Caldwell.

“The first half was poor from both sides with nothing really created, and then the second half was a 50/50 game.

“At one each, we were probably the more dominant team, had a goal disallowed and hit the post, but we just couldn’t get that final pass or touch to get the second.

“We then concede a poor goal with a ball right through the middle of the pitch to lose the game, so it’s bitterly disappointing.

“Both goals were too easy. We let the run in behind first of all and then that ball up the middle of the pitch and a lay off and strike.”