Partick Thistle 1-1 Kilmarnock

By Keir MurrayBBC Sport Scotland

Kilmarnock recovered from an insipid first-half performance to take a deserved point from their league match against Partick Thistle at Firhill.

Aaron Muirhead smashed an 11th-minute penalty past Kilmarnock keeper Craig Samson as Thistle dominated.

Barry Nicholson headed wide for the visitors but after the break striker Kris Boyd headed Killie level.

Scott Fox was kept busy in the Jags goal while Samson saved well from Christie Elliot's late low shot.

Thistle had had a penalty claim waved aside by the time referee Bobby Madden looked on their pleas more favourably, but the decision was an easy one for him to make.

Kilmarnock's captain Manuel Pascali marked his first start of the season by marking the left hip of Steven Lawless with a clumsy high challenge, probably the result of rustiness rather than maliciousness.

A booking and a Thistle goal followed as centre-half Muirhead slammed the penalty straight down the middle past the diving Samson.

Thistle looked the more dangerous side from the first whistle and their half-time lead was deserved, though Killie did gain ground as the half progressed.

Jags right-back Stephen O'Donnell was a perpetual threat down the flank, his best contribution setting up Kris Doolan for a looping header from 14 yards that floated into Samson's arms.

As Alan Archibald's men took control, Doolan weaved his way into the Killie box from the right, worked the ball on to his left foot and cracked a shot at goal that Samson did well to save down to his left to concede a corner.

Tenth-placed Killie had lost their last four games in all competitions and their opening play did little to suggest that run was about to end.

Veteran midfielder Nicholson wasted their best chance of the half when he got on the end of Sean Clohessy's excellent cross but he flashed his header wide from eight yards.

Samson prevented Kilmarnock from going up the tunnel at half-time two goals behind when he made an acrobatic leap to tip Kallum Higginbotham's header over the bar after the Jags striker had been picked out by Sean Welsh.

The direction of play stayed the same for the bulk of the second half but the teams had, of course, swapped ends.

In 47 minutes Boyd eased away from his marker Muirhead and headed Clohessy's cross into the net for a surprise equaliser and that set the tone for much of the half.

Boyd almost made it two in three minutes when he sent a glancing header at goal from Michael Gardyne's inviting cross only for Fox to repel his effort.

And the Jags keeper was cheered by the home fans when he made a tremendous save to stop new Killie signing Ismael Bouzid's powerful header from crossing the line.

Poor control by O'Donnell allowed to Boyd to seize the loose ball and he rasped a shot a fraction wide as Killie pushed for a lead.

Thistle had looked a shadow of the side that had dominated earlier, but an Elliot shot and Doolan just failing to connect with a cross at the back post will have quickened the pulse of Johnston in the away dugout.

And the momentum swung in Thistle's favour again in the closing stages when Doolan showed lovely skill to control a high ball to the back post and had a powerful shot blocked, and Elliot's low effort was blocked by Samson.