IT wasn’t pretty for the majority of the 90 turgid minutes, but in the end it was job done by Alan Archibald’s misfiring team, who passed up enough chances to win a dozen games, and with the league season around the corner that has to be a worrying aspect for the Firhill side.

A Miles Storey opportunist strike early in the second period and a toe poke from close range by substitute Aidan Fitzpatrick eight minutes from the end was all that separated them from a plucky Rovers side, who can take great heart from their tireless display. But the chances for Thistle that came, and quickly went, will cause concern.

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Thistle arrived in Coatbridge last night boasting an unbeaten record so far in Group E in the Betfred Cup, but sat second behind Ayr United on goal difference. So Archibald’s side were desperate to go on the goal trail against League Two Rovers. Ineptitude in front of goal prevented that from reaching fruition.

It was Rovers who threatened first when Graham Gracie burst in from the left then drilled a low drive across the Thistle goal after just six minutes, but the ball flew wide of goalkeeper Cammy Bell’s far post.

Thistle finally came to terms with the Cliftonhill surface and in 13 minutes a Craig Slater corner from the left was only cleared as far as Blair Spittal 18-yards out. His shot was blocked and fell perfectly for Shea Gordon who forced Rovers goalkeeper Danny Potts into a fabulous save to turn over his curling drive from the edge of the area.

Thistle began to dominate and after 22 minutes Gordon drove forward from midfield, but his low effort from 18-yards drifted just wide of the post.

One minute later only a brilliant lunge on the line from Rovers’ Barry Eley prevented Kris Doolan from putting the Jags in front. The defender timed his block to perfection as Doolan, six yards out, looked sure to net.

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John Brogan’s side continued to frustrate Thistle, but in 34 minutes a James Penrice corner from the right was clipped back by Doolan. The ball broke to Gordon, lurking at the edge of he area, but his fierce attempt flew just wide.

The procession towards the Rovers goal continued, but the composure in front of goal continued to desert Archibald’s side. In 43 minutes a Penrice cross was met by Doolan at the back post, but his header looped over the bar.

Thistle had the ball in the net three minutes after the restart when Slater’s shot was spilled by Potts and Gordon cut the ball over for Doolan to tap in, but he was ruled offside.

Rovers continued to pose a tenuous threat and Paul McGeough headed over after getting on the end of a McLear free-kick.

But just before the hour mark, Thistle broke the deadlock. Storey latched on to a quick throw-in, turned sharply inside the area and cracked the ball low past Potts from 12 yards. It was more relief than celebration from the considerable Jags support. Eight minutes from time, the points were secured when Fitzpatrick got on the end of an O’Ware cross, to control and nudge the ball past Potts from eight yards.