Partick Thistle’s Liam Lindsay must have thought a week that started off with the disappointment of missing out on the Scotland squad was on the up as the clock ticked onto 87 minutes at Rugby Park, with his side a goal to the good and seemingly cruising towards three points that would have put them in an almost impenetrable position to claim the final place available in the top six.
Chris Erskine had put them ahead with a little less than 20 minutes remaining, reacting quickest in the area to slam home after his initial header from a Christie Elliott cross had been blocked.
It was a goal and a lead that the visitors thoroughly deserved, with Kilmarnock chasing shadows for most of the second half after a bright start had petered out and Thistle had taken control of the game.
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With Lindsay and his defensive partner Niall Keown assured at the heart of their defence, it was hard to see where a Kilmarnock equaliser would come from, but Thistle surpassed themselves as they continue to come up with new and innovative ways to throw away leads in the dying stages.
If it was defensive slackness from the team unit that cost them last week as Gary Warren nabbed a last-gasp equaliser for Inverness at Firhill, this time the culprit was altogether more obvious. Step forward, Tomas Cerny.
The goalkeeper, who is normally so reliable and has undoubtedly been one of his side’s top performers for almost two seasons now, chose a most unfortunate time to produce a clanger of such staggering proportions that even the home fans delayed their celebrations until they were sure what they had just witnessed had actually happened.
A powder-puff shot from Connor Sammon from 25 yards was so tame that Cerny may have been able to nip to the snack bar for a Killie Pie just after it left the striker’s boot and still get back in time to keep it out, but he inexplicably let it slip from his grasp and into the corner of the net.
“It was a hard one to take,” said Thistle defender Lindsay, who wore an expression so hangdog that his mood hardly needed verbalising. “That’s the second week in a row it’s happened, so it’s a horrible feeling.
“Tomas was devastated in the dressing room afterwards. But he has saved us numerous times this season, so I think it will quickly be forgotten about.
“I sympathise with him because I know what it’s like when you make a mistake that costs a goal. He has probably done it a few times in his career, he’s getting old now, but he has the character to bounce back from it.”
Luckily for Thistle, the ability to react positively to adversity is one that is prevalent throughout their squad. Lindsay himself, in fact, successfully put the disappointment of his Scotland squad snub to the back of his mind to produce a display that only further begged the question as to why he had missed out.
With a dearth of young Scottish talent coming through at centre-half, it seems peculiar that the national manager wouldn’t want to take a closer look at Lindsay in training or even the Canada game on Wednesday evening.
“I am disappointed not to be involved, but I just want to concentrate on Thistle now and get into the top six,” Lindsay said. “If it comes it comes. If not, I’ll just keep working hard.”
Would a chance of club help his chances? “You’ll need to ask the Scotland manager,” he said wryly. “All I can do is keep playing, keep clean sheets and get the odd goal.”
Sammon, the man who got the very odd goal for Kilmarnock on the day, had slightly more spring in his step as he revelled in his good fortune.
“It’s classic example of the old saying ‘if you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win’, Sammon said.
“I was delighted to see it go in and then I even felt we had a bit of time to put a bit of pressure on and try to nick it.
“But in fairness they played very well, they’re a good side and in the second half they showed that. It’s good character from us to get back in and get the point."
The record books of course will simply show the goal as Sammon’s third in fourth games, rather than explain the circumstances around it.
His return to form since arriving back at Rugby Park and rediscovering his confidence after a torrid spell at Tynecastle is such that his own manager, Lee McCulloch, was even touting Sammon for a call up for his own country, the Republic of Ireland.
“It’s one step at a time but I know what I’m capable of and know the standards you need to set week-in week-out to keep pushing yourself to play as high a level as you can do," the striker said.
“Confidence is a huge thing, particularly with strikers because you get that belief from scoring goals and playing regularly. When you do you feel yourself doing things instinctively rather than over-thinking things. You try things that you probably wouldn’t if you were low on confidence and over thinking it.
“My confidence has definitely grown since I came back here."