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St Mirren 0 Partick Thistle 0: A bard day's work but little in the way of poetry in motion

THIS was not a classic by any means.

St Mirren's Darren McGregor challenges Lyle Taylor Photograph: Lorraine Hill
St Mirren's Darren McGregor challenges Lyle Taylor Photograph: Lorraine Hill

At times, even the bard himself would have struggled to find any inspiring flooery phraseology to describe it There was plenty of industry on show but not a great deal of invention and the dismal conditions certainly didn't help.

With a brooding sky, a boisterous breeze and a brief flurry of snow, the scene that greeted the players as they emerged from the tunnel was about as welcoming as the Gates of Hades. On a Burns day that certainly chilled one's timorous beasties, it was not an afternoon for hanging about.

In the tense, nervy scramble to avoid the relegation play-off, a grim guddle in which both of these teams are heavily involved, every point is a prisoner. It could have gone either way in the frantic last knockings as both sides rattled the woodwork, but a share of the spoils was just about right.

With Ross County, another rival in peril, losing to bottom-of-the table Hearts, this was at least a point gained. Well, almost.

"It's a very good point but I still think it's two dropped," admitted St Mirren manager Danny Lennon. Partick Thistle counterpart Alan Archibald was equally as brisk in his summary. "The draw was right; it's tight down there and we just have to keep looking up the way," he said.

The kick-and-rush start will have warmed up those on the park but did little to raise the temperatures of those chittering in the stands.

Kallum Higginbotham had a couple of long-range efforts for Thistle which failed to trouble Marian Kello in the St Mirren goal. Those in attendance then witnessed something of a rare occurrence; a jaw-shuddering challenge that didn't lead to Jim Goodwin being booked.

The combative St Mirren captain, whose disciplinary record has been the topic of much discussion of late, was the recipient of a meaty tackle from Jordan McMillan and it was the Thistle man who saw yellow.

"Jim is a fantastic lad and a fantastic professional and if anyone can turn this bad publicity round then he can," added Lennon, who was quick to praise his skipper for getting up and getting on with it.

"He was on the end of a bad challenge in the first half but if you live by the sword then you die by the sword and he didn't make anything of it. He gives it out but he can take it."

Another wild lunge, this time from St Mirren's Jason Naismith, caused the visitors more concern however. Higginbotham was on the receiving end of the reckless swipe and was eventually stretchered off. "He's OK now but he's got six stitches in his knee and it's a bad one as it will keep opening up," Archibald said.

Naismith almost helped to add insult to injury when his low cross from the right was steered towards the target by Adam Campbell but Paul Gallacher made a fine save.

With half an hour gone, things were starting to open up and Thistle should have seized an advantage in the 33rd minute. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair's cross from the left was flicked on by Chris Erskine but James Craigen, thundering in at the back post, thumped the ball over the bar from close range.

Paul McGowan responded with a shot that Gallacher saved down low. As half-time loomed, McGowan released Steven Thompson, who only had Gallacher to beat, but the ball clumsily dunted off his left foot as he prepared to unleash it with his right and the chance evaporated amid the tangled feet.

Thistle emerged with vigour for the second period but despite launching a series of driving moves, their purpose tended to peter out once they got into a menacing position. St Mirren continued to struggle to make any inroads and largely aimless balls forward just ended up coming straight back at them.

They almost sneaked ahead in 78 minutes when McGowan's low trundler bounced off the post. Thistle also came mightily close just a couple of minutes later when Taylor-Sinclair's raking drive clipped the top of the bar.

McGowan raced into the box but instead of having a go himself he turned and laid the ball off to the on-rushing Conor Newton, whose attempt was blocked. The honours were destined to be even.

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