A NEW year but the same old misery at home for Partick Thistle.
Ten times this season they have turned out in front of their own fans on league duty and ten times now they have failed to secure a victory.
They will surely not get a better chance than this to end such a wretched record. Early in the second half, Alan Archibald's side found themselves 3-1 in front on the back of a dominant first-half performance.
It was surely only a matter of consolidating what they had and sailing through to the final whistle. Nothing, however, is ever that straightforward in Maryhill. Ross County, a hitherto sorry-looking bunch, found a second wind and Thistle were soon up against it.
Ben Gordon drew the visitors back into it with a low shot and the home side began to retreat further and further back, inviting the inevitable.
Their fate was eventually sealed with a kiss, Filip Kiss, the Slovakian capping an impressive debut by scoring his second and County's third to plunge the home support into howls of anguish.
Thistle had one last chance to snare a victory, Stephen O'Donnell's shot whistling past the post to put the tin lid on yet another afternoon of Firhill frustration.
"That feels like a defeat," said Archibald. "We've struggled to score goals all season at home and we got three today and still didn't win the match. That's hard to take."
If there was a ray of light for Thistle it came in the form of Lyle Taylor. Archibald's side had been accused of lacking a killer touch in the first half of the season and the on-loan Sheffield United striker already looks like providing a solution, adding two goals to the one he bagged at Tynecastle the previous weekend.
His first midway through the first half was a drilled low shot after being played in by Steven Lawless, his second a header from an enticing Aaron Taylor-Sinclair cross from the left that put Thistle 2-1 in front just before half-time. It was a commanding performance, but not everyone was left impressed.
"I spoke to my centre-halfs at half-time and told them they're making Lyle Taylor look very good and that's unacceptable," said Derek Adams, the County manager. "He is a good player, but he's not a very good player. We made him look better than he is today."
Taylor, in response, proved to be as sharp with his tongue as he was in front of goal. "I think he's doing me a disservice there," said the former Falkirk man. "I'm a bit disappointed with that comment. Maybe his defenders had a good game, but I just had a better one."
Suspect defending and the late red card for Stuart Kettlewell aside, this was another good afternoon for Adams and his players.
On the back of two victories, the draw extended County's unbeaten start to 2014 and ensured they kept within a point of Thistle in the race to avoid the play-off spot.
Kiss, in particular, looks a shrewd acquisition, his two goals all the more impressive given his lack of recent first-team football. "He got on the ball quite a bit in the game, passed and moved it, and you can see the quality he's got," added Adams. It was the Slovak who got the glut of goals under way, scoring with County's first chance of the game following a period of sustained Thistle pressure.
Richie Brittain provided the assist and Kiss swept home a shot from the edge of the box, no doubt to the delight of headline writers everywhere.