Partick Thistle 0-0 Dundee Utd

By Colin MoffatBBC Scotland

Partick Thistle showed lots of promise on their return to the top flight after a nine-year absence but could not break down Dundee United at Firhill.

Both goalkeepers were kept busy in a breathless match.

United striker David Goodwillie looked the likeliest source of a goal but squandered a host of opportunities.

Thistle were full of vim and vigour and came close to snatching the win when a late, swerving shot from Ross Forbes was kept out by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

The hosts were determined to make it an uncomfortable evening for former manager Jackie McNamara in the first match of the new Scottish Premiership campaign.

And, following a botched attempt at unfurling the First Division champions' flag, Thistle were soon zipping the ball around on the perfectly manicured pitch, with their full-backs given ample room to get forward.

But, for all of their possession, the best first-half chances fell to United, while the visitors also came closest to scoring for the hosts.

Sean Dillon's attempted clearance ricocheted off team-mate Callum Butcher and crept past the post and Cierzniak made a great flying save to keep out a ball that had spun off the chest of Dillon.

Earlier, home keeper Scott Fox flapped away a deflected cross from Ryan Dow and made a sharp reaction stop to keep out a downward header from Goodwillie before tipping over a fierce shot from former Jag Paul Paton.

Teenage full-back Andrew Robertson looked very comfortable on his top flight debut and found Goodwillie at back post with a marvellous delivery but the Scotland international made a real mess of the close range header.

Kris Doolan could not profit from some slack United marking when he failed to steer a Stuart Bannigan cross on target and James Craigen was also left unattended as he strolled forward to shoot wide.

The second half opened with Goodwillie creating two chances in quick succession, cutting in from the right twice to curl a shot wide before his second attempt was beaten away by Fox.

Cierzniak made a similar stop from a Doolan shot and was relieved to see a Sinclair free-kick from 22 yards brush roof of net as it dipped over crossbar.

Neither goalkeeper could afford to take a breather in a frantic match and Fox raced from his area to come off second best in a tackle with Goodwillie, who stumbled through another challenge before Aaron Muirhead stepped in to mop up.

A brief brawl broke out on 70 minutes when Thistle players reacted angrily to Butcher's high tackle on Gary Fraser and, with both players cautioned, the United defender was perhaps fortunate to stay on the park when he later flew into a two-footed challenge in his own penalty area.

More saves followed, with Cierzniak stopping a drive from Fraser and tipping over a looping John Baird header, while Fox had to deal with a header and a stinging shot from substitute Brian Graham.

Thistle fans were on their feet in the closing minutes when Forbes let fly from distance and Cierzniak did well to keep out the swerving ball with a strong hand.


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