An altercation in the penalty box spilled into the bowels of Dens Park last night, where accounts of the incident clashed just as fiercely. Partick Thistle goalkeeper Scott Fox was sent off during the second half but the details continue to be debated after the final whistle.
Goals from Partick's Gary Fraser and Craig Wighton for Dundee had the teams on level terms before the red card brought an inbalance. Referee Craig Charleston penalised Partick defender Daniel Seaborne for a foul in the box, then adjudged Fox to have raised his hands during the fallout from the spot-kick award. When it was finally taken, Gary Harkins was denied by substitue goalkeeper Paul Gallacher.
"They got a goal back and then the referee ruined it," said Thistle manager Alan Archibald who will consider an appeal against the sending-off. "One of their players said Scott Fox punched somebody. I didn't see that but he was sent off and that was the game ruined. Scott says he didn't do anything, although sometimes players tell you porkies."
The visitors had gone ahead after only four minutes through Fraser but their conviction was built on more than an early goal. They press the play doggedly, incessantly, and in a manner which is both satisfying and successful. They have now played two teams they might be expected to share bottom-six places with after the split and competed convincingly with both.
For all that yesterday's draw came after a collective effort, individuals also deserve to be extolled. Abdul Osman was one who deserved commendation - a player once with Gretna who has returned to the Scottish top flight this season to anchor the Thistle midfield impressively -and Fraser another.
A youth player at Celtic and Hamilton Academical and a reserve at Bolton Wanderers, the midfielder was labelled troubled in his first season at Firhill, serving a nine-match suspension for attacking an opponent during a reserve match. Against Dundee, he showed intelligence and positivity, though, and was responsible for Thistle's flying start, finding space on the edge of the home penalty area to bullet a shot into the net.
A similar effort less than a minute later unnerved the home support too, before the ball skipped up into the arms of Dundee goalkeeper Kyle Letheren. "He is in really good form," Archibald of a player who also scored in last week's win over Ross County.
Stuart Bannigan also went close with a low shot in the first half and Dundee's Harkins hit the bar with a free-kick at the start of the second. Letheren was relieved to see a powerful shot from Kallum Higginbotham go past his far post, but in the 54th minute Dundee were level.
Jim McAlister slid a pass through to substitute Wighton who kept his cool and shot home through Fox's legs.
Minutes later, Seaborne was adjudged to have impeded James McPake in the penalty area and was booked for the offence, with Fox then sent off for his remonstrations, allegedly raising his hands to Paul McGowan.
The rancour was such that it took a full five minutes for Gallacher to take his place in goal. When he did, he saved Harkins' penalty with his legs. "Gary has won Dundee games before. We don't blame him," said Dundee manager Paul Hartley.