The following article is from our dedicated Partick Thistle newsletter, which is released every Wednesday at 6 pm. You can receive it directly to your inbox for FREE two days early - just sign up here

Third-placed Partick Thistle made the short journey to the Excelsior stadium to take on fierce rivals Airdrieonians with both sides flying high off the back of cup victories over Premiership opposition and each looking to maintain their unbeaten start to 2024.

Jags boss Kris Doolan was forced into making one change to the side that toppled Ross County as talismanic striker Brian Graham missed out due to illness. Without top scorer Graham, Doolan was left with a selection headache as two able deputies - Ricco Diack and Tomi Adeloye - were both chapping at the gaffer's door for a start, with the latter ultimately getting the nod ahead of the young prospect.

The Diamonds are well revered for their slick pass and move style of football under Rhys McCabe but the Jags set out to disrupt any sort of rhythm forming for the hosts. A bright start from Thistle as they toyed with the Airdrie backline, switching play from side to side, sizing up their opponents as they looked for an early breakthrough.

Despite the visitors early dominance it was the hosts who took the lead against the run of play on 37 minutes. A deep corner was floated into the six-yard box and Jags goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon looked favourite to collect as he rose highest in the crowded area. The Thistle shot stopper failed to gather the ball, losing his balance after a slight nudge which allowed Craig Watson to fire the Diamonds ahead from close range. A goal in each of his last two outings against the Jags for the charismatic full-back.

The lead wouldn’t last long for Airdrie as they were pegged back just moments later by an instant reply from Thistle. Kerr McInroy’s defence splitting slide-rule pass found Jack McMillan with acres of space to run onto, squaring first time for Adeloye whose initial shot was blocked by the all-action Watson. With the ball breaking kindly for Thistle, Aidan Fitzpatrick stood awaiting a simple tap in, only for Adeloye to show immense composure as he chopped back onto his favoured right foot before burying the ball into the bottom corner for his sixth goal in red and yellow. Parity restored in what was clearly an emotional moment for Adeloye who later dedicated the goal to his mother.

READ MORE: Thistle's cup consistency shows club is moving in right direction

A fantastic 45 minutes of football saw the game evenly poised at the break with supporters licking their lips at the prospect of an equally entertaining second half.

However, neither side would create any clear cut chances in a second half that saw tensions reach boiling point as McCabe’s men nullified the Thistle attacking threat with Steven Lawless and Mason Hancock going toe to toe on a number of occasions whilst opposite winger Fitzpatrick had to leave the field of play through injury after a very late challenge in front of the away dugout enraged the Jags bench. A worrying sight for all those of a Thistle persuasion seeing the in-form winger hobble off the park with only a matter of days remaining of the January transfer window.

Plenty of positives to take from the tie but none more so than the cameo from January signing Luke McBeth who was brought on to act as enforcer in front of the Thistle rearguard. The former Glenafton man was a standout in the Thistle midfield showing a terrific range of passing combined with wholehearted tough tackling. A shrewd piece of business that seems to be growing in importance with each passing week as the Jags look to have filled a problem area they have struggled to replace since the departure of Abdul Osman.

Kris Doolan can be pleased having watched his side pick up a well-earned point at a difficult place to go with the Diamonds in a rich vein of form. The Jags themselves have only tasted defeat twice in their last 15 outings as they continue to hunt down the division’s top two.