'IT'S not the despair, Laura.
I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand." The lament of John Cleese's character in Clockwise will be chiming with Partick Thistle and their long-suffering supporters right now. The wait for a first home league win of the season goes on but it is the manner in which Thistle again contrived to throw it away from a promising position that will surely hurt the most.
A week after blowing a two-goal advantage to draw with Ross County, it took an injury-time penalty to break their hearts this time around. Even then there was a twist in the tale, goalkeeper Paul Gallacher saving Kris Boyd's kick only for Robbie Muirhead to stab in the rebound to salvage a point for Kilmarnock.
If that wasn't enough misery for Thistle, the red card shown to Aaron Taylor-Sinclair for hauling down William Gros will now keep him out of Tuesday's match against St Johnstone when Thistle will look to win at home at the 12th attempt.
Alan Archibald, not surprisingly, wore the look of a man whose dog had just been knocked down by an ice cream van as he addressed his team once more coming up short. They had been the better side for long spells but failed to add to Kallum Higginbotham's third-minute goal and eventually paid the price. "You could probably just play the tape from last week," said the Thistle manager. "I was delighted with the way we started the game but very disappointed with how we finished it. The way our record is at home we always need two goals and when you don't score it you always worry that 1-0 isn't enough."
Kilmarnock had barely been seen as an attacking force up until the hour mark but, sensing a vulnerability about Thistle, they belatedly dragged themselves up the park. Boyd missed a good chance with eight minutes left - blasting a shot straight at Gallacher - before Muirhead ensured their late sense of adventure was not for nothing. It was Kilmarnock's first draw since their last visit to Firhill in September and may prove to be an important one as the battle to avoid the relegation play-off place warms up.
"The league is very close so this is a big point for us," said manager Allan Johnston. "It was probably even; they had the better of the first half, and we had the better of the second. There are 11 games to the split and we need to start taking three points from games."
Kilmarnock barely got a look-in until late in the game, Thistle defender Lee Mair enjoying as comfortable a debut as he could have imagined a day after moving from St Mirren. Few teams keep Boyd quiet but Thistle did a decent number on him, the striker not enjoying a chance of note until the hour mark when he turned and bashed a shot wide. That aside, Sammy Clingan battered in a free kick that went straight down Gallacher's throat but that was about the sum of the visitors' efforts until the late drama.
Thistle did not create a huge amount of chances either but always looked more likely, simply as a result of them having more of the ball. In the end they managed just the one goal. Stephen O'Donnell hurled in a long throw-in that was glanced on to Higginbotham, who propelled the ball goalwards with an acrobatic overhead kick. There wasn't a great deal of power in his effort but the ball died as it landed in the muddy six-yard box, before squirming under a befuddled Craig Samson. Steven Lawless and Gary Fraser both had chances, while a Higginbotham mazy run and cutback also failed to find a taker. Another Thistle hard-luck story was taking shape.