Alan Archibald bemoans Partick Thistle naivety

PARTICK manager Alan Archibald has urged his players to improve their game management after they let Kilmarnock twice come from behind to take a draw at Firhill.
Kris Boyd is all smiles after heading home Kilmarnock's late equaliser. Picture: SNSKris Boyd is all smiles after heading home Kilmarnock's late equaliser. Picture: SNS
Kris Boyd is all smiles after heading home Kilmarnock's late equaliser. Picture: SNS

A late header from substitute Kris Boyd allowed Kilmarnock to salvage a point, their second 2-2 result of the week after holding Celtic at Rugby Park on Wednesday.

Partick, whose goals both came from man-of-the-match Kris Doolan, played the last 25 minutes with ten men after losing Liam Lindsay to a red card for a professional foul on Mark O’Hara.

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However, Archibald felt they could have taken all three points had they been wise to dangerous circumstances.

He said: “I thought we were outstanding in the first half and created three or four really good chances. We haven’t really been creating a lot of clear opportunities in front of goal so, to have made so many, it was disappointing not to have had the game put to bed by half-time.

“I can’t complain about the goals we lost as we played ourselves into trouble. And even when we lost a man we knew we were at home and wanted to go and win it. We felt we were the better side, we dominated possession and created some really good chances so we have to be pleased with that.”

Archibald detailed his frustration at how his side lost their first goal when Thistle were caught flat-footed by a quick Kilmarnock free-kick, conceded by Lindsay.

Archibald said: “I thought it was an intelligent foul from Liam given how they were breaking. I think it’s maybe just a bit of naivety from us.

“Liam should be standing in front of that ball straight away and stopping them from taking that early free-kick.

“Game management like that is something we need to be aware of, especially when we have a younger squad.”

Doolan scored Partick’s first goal of the season in the ninth minute when he skilfully cut in from the right and evaded a poor attempt at blocking him from Lee Ashcroft before calmly slotting the ball passed Jamie MacDonald. After two previous goalless draws and a defeat to Celtic, it was the home team’s first goal of the campaign.

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With 16 minutes on the clock Doolan was unfortunate not to double the Partick lead after the ball broke into his path following a David Amoo effort which the visitors failed to clear. The Thistle forward saw an opportunity to curl in from the right, only to be denied when his intelligent effort struck the right post.

But Rory McKenzie stunned the dominant home side with a 38th-minute equaliser, running clear of a static Partick defence from Kallum Higginbotham’s free-kick, and it was the manner of that strike that so upset Archibald.

The home boss could have few grumbles about the red card for Lindsay, who pulled down O’Hara to deny the Kilmarnock midfielder a free shot at goal before Alan Muir waved the red card.

Doolan made the most of good work from substitute Gary Fraser to restore ten-man Partick’s lead, before Boyd had the final say, heading in a cross from Higginbotham and in the process preserving Kilmarnock’s 13-year unbeaten record at Firhill.

Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke felt, just like Archibald, that his team should have been celebrating their first win of the season, having preceded their draw against Celtic with a pair of losses.

“You are never happy drawing, we should have won,” Locke said. “For the first 20, 25 minutes Thistle were in control but I felt after that we dominated.

“I was delighted with the character, it was just like what we also showed on Wednesday, though we can’t keep giving cheap goals away.

“At the first goal Lee Ashcroft made an individual error, he knows he should have cleared it – though from where I was sitting the second goal definitely looked offside.

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“It was frustrating that we were a man up with a large period of the game to go but failed to get the win I thought we would have deserved.

“When they had the boy sent off we decided to go two up front and put Boydy on and happily it paid off with him scoring the equaliser.”