Disappointment in Dingwall as 10-man Thistle slip to defeat

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Hopes of a winning run were dashed after Thistle returned from a disappointed visit to Dingwall.

Ross County got the game started but it was Thistle who were on the front foot early when a Kallum Higginbotham’s free kick was caught easily by Brown after James Craigen had been the victim of a late challenge.

The Jags were playing into a strong wind in the first half, and in the 9th minute Craigen picked up a loose ball in midfield and found Lyle Taylor - but he could only shoot wide from 22 yards.

Then Higginbotham saw him leave the County defence on the deck and his cut back found Lawless who had a real chance to put Thistle ahead. Unfortunately for the visitors the shot was blasted over from about 10 yards.

As the half wore on County began to find their feet as Irvine headed wide from a Reckford cross. Stephen O’Donnell, one of the Thistle standouts in the game, then side footed an effort just past the post after County had only half cleared.

In the 33rd minute Thistle failed to heed the earlier warning and another ball in behind would ultimately cost them the game.

An angled pass in behind Keenan found Boyce, his shot was saved by Gallacher but the ball spun up in the air and Curran headed home from six yards out. Balatoni was unable to get in front of the effort to prevent County making it 1-0.

Just before half time Higginbotham saw his shot from a tight angle deflected into the side netting and, despite long spells of dominance for the Jags, it was the home side who led at the break.

Hopes were high in the second half of redressing the balance, especially because the wind was now at their backs. A scrappy affair from both camps ensued with no fluency.

However in the 52nd minute, a long ball found Irvine and his cross picked out Gardyne, but thankfully for Thistle his turn and shot went wide of the target.

Doolan replaced Craigen as Thistle went with two up front and it almost paid off when a fierce Lawless shot was well saved by Brown who couldn’t hold on to it.

Taylor then pounced on the loose ball and fired home from close range only to see the linesman’s flag raised as he wheeled away to celebrate.

In the 59th minute the game changed again when Higginbotham lost possession and, as he chased Gardyne scythed down the County player. Despite the reckless challenge it was still a surprise to many in the ground when the referee flashed a red card.

With the Jags now down to 10 men things were difficult. Quinn saw his shot deflected wide by Doolan on the post although no corner was given.

Despite being a man down Thistle showed real character to create chances with Stevenson curling a free kick just wide. Then Wilson saw his 25 yard shot saved by Brown as Thistle continued to search for the elusive equaliser. But it was not to be with County almost getting a second after robbing Thistle goalie Gallacher of the ball, only for Filip Kiss to shoot just wide of an empty net.