After 22 years without a win at Fir Park, Partick Thistle fans must have thought this was finally going to be their day. They should have known better.

A header from Kris Doolan had them ahead early in the second half after an opening period to forget, and they frustrated a blunt-looking Motherwell outfit for long spells thereafter.

And with nothing coming off for Nadir Ciftci up top for the men in claret and amber, as well as what we’ll politely call Thistle’s game management, the home fans also seemed resigned to witnessing their first defeat on home soil for over two decades to the Jags. But from nowhere, Ciftci showed just why it is usually worth persevering with him, as he produced a moment of magic to grab his first Motherwell goal - and his first in 26 games since scoring for Eskisehirspor against Gaziantepspor (try saying that after a drink or two) in May 2016 - to send the Thistle fans back along the M74 with that familiar weary feeling that a visit to Lanarkshire brings them.

“I’m delighted for him,” said Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson about his enigmatic striker. “He can frustrate you because he tries things all of the time, but he is the difference for us at times.

“He has set two up now and scored one, Curtis [Main] has scored a few, so there is a promising partnership building there.”

It was Thistle who were carrying the greater threat in a poor first-half, and they should have taken the lead when Miles Storey did brilliantly to clip a cross onto the head of Ryan Edwards, but Tom Aldred did just enough to put the Australian midfielder off and he headed over.

The game descended into a dull affair for a long stretch, but Motherwell burst into life as we approached the interval, with Main getting in behind after a great pass from Craig Tanner and attempting to lift the ball over Cerny, but the keeper got back to parry away.

It looked for all the world that Motherwell would break the deadlock just after the restart as Tanner’s corner was met by Aldred at the back post, but the ball spun off Ciftci and Cerny somehow clawed the ball away.

When a chance immediately presented itself at the other end, Doolan made no such mistake to grab his 99th league goal for Thistle. A free-kick from Martin Woods found the striker in acres of space, and he planted a header past Trevor Carson.

Motherwell had the ball in the net as Ciftci headed a free-kick across goal for Main to bullet home, but the offside flag went up - correctly - to deny the home side.

With 10 minutes left on the clock though, Ciftci produced his moment of magic, using his strength to turn Adam Barton and rifle a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner.

“I thought we should have won it,” said Thistle boss Alan Archibald. “We looked comfortable and we dealt with a lot of balls into the box.

“But we put in a lot of effort, and when we look back at it, we’ll probably regard it as a good point because this is a hard place to come to.”


MOTHERWELL: Ciftci (80’)


Referee: Nick Walsh