Partick Thistle 1-1 Hearts

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland

Jamie Walker made up for conceding a penalty by shooting a late equaliser to give Hearts a point against Partick Thistle at Firhill.

Thistle's Conrad Balatoni headed over in a first half dominated by the hosts.

In the closing stages, Walker felled John Baird in the box and Thistle's Aaron Muirhead converted emphatically.

However, within minutes Walker ran from midfield to hit a 20-yard leveller past Partick goalkeeper Scott Fox, meaning Hearts' points total is now -11.

The chasm between these sides remains at 16 points despite many pundits predicting close-season that Partick Thistle would be the only team Hearts - hampered by their 15-point deduction due to administration - could catch.

Indeed, the Jambos had been buoyed by a Edinburgh derby win over Hibernian and the news that fans' group, Foundation of Hearts, had been named preferred bidder for the club on Thursday.

Thistle manager Alan Archibald knocked back claims that this clash under the Firhill floodlights was an early-season relegation six-pointer.

And you can not blame him for doing so, given his charges came into the game with four Premiership points out of a possible six.

Kris Doolan's early tap in was correctly disallowed for offside but it was an indicator of what was to come in Maryhill.

Callum Paterson looked isolated for up front for Hearts, while Thistle's Doolan was spoiled for choice in terms of attacking support.

Much of it came from Steven Lawless and James Craigen, but Partick fans in the Jackie Husband stand had an ideal position to watch full-back Stephen O'Donnell careering down the right time after time.

Thistle's former Hearts defender Balatoni headed one of O'Donnell's many crosses over the bar when many thought he would do better.

The football on show from Archibald's men was excellent at times and a good Sean Welsh pass allowed Craigen to set up Doolan, who came agonisingly close to getting the crucial goal-ward touch.

Welsh, Doolan and Lawless all went on to work Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald from distance, as fears grew amongst the home support that Thistle would rue not taking their chances.

The start of the second half brought much of the same; Craigen and Kallum Higginbotham shooting wide before MacDonald saved Doolan's close-range poke.

Hearts did eventually work themselves into a few good attacking positions and the head of Danny Wilson nearly gave them the lead, twice, from useful Kevin McHattie corners.

MacDonald was then busy beating away Craigen's diving header and a near-post shot from Baird, who had come on to spruce up Thistle's attack.

And it was Baird who drew the foul from Walker in the box with less than five minutes to go, giving referee Bobby Madden no doubt about pointing to the spot.

Muirhead smashed it home, but only 120 seconds elapsed before Walker saved his blushes by firing into the right corner of Fox's net and becoming the equalising hero.


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