Who’d be a referee eh? The Hamilton and Partick Thistle fans were probably thinking Steven McLean shouldn’t be one. The embattled man in the middle, under scrutiny for his officiating in a crash, bang, wallop Betfred Cup semi-final on Sunday, swapped the frying pan of Hampden for the cursing ire of the Super Seal Stadium.

Both sets of seething spectators and finger-wagging figures in the respective dug-outs were left grumbling and grousing as McLean waved away a variety of penalty claims in a scrappy and ultimately goalless tussle.

The point at least hoisted Thistle, temporarily, off the bottom of the table while Hamilton’s wretched run of six consecutive defeats came to an end.

“One of the claims was a stone-waller and watching it back it looks even worse,” said Thistle manager Alan Archibald, of a Ryan Edwards strike that hit Dougie Imrie’s hands. “It was ridiculous. He moved his hands like a keeper in front of his face. I know he (McLean) had a big game on Sunday and he maybe just wanted to get through this one. Maybe he shouldn’t have taken this game. He’s a good referee but I’m in a bit of disbelief watching it back.”

Buoyed by a first league victory of the campaign on Saturday, there was a visible spring in the step of the Thistle players as they opened with considerable gusto. Danny Devine illustrated this early purpose as he belted in a raking effort which Gary Woods, the Hamilton keeper, padded away.

With the visitors lively and inventive, a jittery, hesitant Hamilton looked like a team in the grim midst of a prolonged losing streak. Thistle had the game in a double nelson and they came close to an opening goal when Kris Doolan’s low trundler bounced off the post and Woods thwarted Paul McGinn’s follow up.

It was a sair fecht for the hosts. McLean, meanwhile, was incurring the wrath of the locals and a tangle in the box involving Greg Docherty and Jordan Turnbull had Martin Canning, the Hamilton manager, bawling for a penalty but to no avail.

After that sprightly start to proceedings, things became decidedly uninspired as the half meandered to a conclusion but there was another loud bellow for a spot-kick when Rojano was felled by Niall Keown as he surged into the area. To the fury of the hosts, though, McLean awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the box while brandishing the yellow card to the Thistle defender. From the resulting set piece, Dougie Imrie prodded the cross wide from close range.

David Templeton was thrust into action just moments after the resumption and the Hamilton man sent in a signal of intent with a drive which flew wide as the home side tried to up the ante.

It needed some upping, mind you. Miles Storey, who ended Thistle’s search for a first win of the season with his injury time winner against Dundee at the weekend, roused the senses of the away end when his speculative cross caught Woods in a flapping fankle but the ball bounced off the bar. Storey then put that same ball over the bar when he took a searching McGinn pass in his stride but lifted a fine chance high into the night.

Thistle had their own boisterous shout for a penalty before Templeton spurned Hamilton’s best chance when he latched on to Imrie’s cut back but clattered his shot wide.

“I’m of the same opinion as Alan,” added Canning. “I thought we should have had two penalties. Greg got manhandled in the area and I thought Rojano was in the box."