Jags see third spot hopes take a blow on a night of frustration

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PARTICK Thistle slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Morton on Tuesday night.

Manager Jackie McNamara was left gnashing his teeth as, despite his team giving their all, they saw hopes of a third place finish severely dented at Cappielow.

The Jags made a slow start that was not helped when Scott Robertson and Aaron Sinclair both had to be withdrawn due to injury with barely a quarter of the game played.

Sinclair appeared to pick up a nasty injury after being clattered from behind by Grant Evans - an encounter that referee Steven McLean deemed not worthy of a yellow card.

But worse was to follow with the visitors conceding a goal in the eighth minute.

Jags keeper Scott Fox made a great reflex save to keep out Peter MacDonald’s header from inside the six yard box.

He wasn’t, however, able to direct the ball away from goal and from no more than a foot out, MacDonald nodded home.

Thistle were unlucky not to claw a goal back in the 31st minute when Stephen O’Donnell’s superb effort was just tipped over the bar.

In Thistle’s next attack Kris Doolan had the ball in the net after he stooped to head home Stuart Bannigan’s inviting cross from the left, but celebrations were cut short by a raised flag for offside.

Despite going into the turnaround one goal down, Thistle started the second half with real enthusiasm, dominating most of the half.

But abject frustration followed as they found the path to Morton’s goal blocked at every opportunity.

The closest they came to equalising was in the 68th minute when the outstretched foot of opposition keeper Alan Combe kept out an effort from Chris Erskine.

Apart from this the visitors could only manage a few half chances as the game wore on.

Stuart Bannigan’s 25 yard shot looked impressive, but was not on target.

In the 82nd minute Doolan forced Combe into a save with a low drive.

McNamara then took the opportunity to try out Caolan McAleer for his debut.

The young Northern Irishman - who replaced O’Donnell - almost got through Morton’s defences, but by then the game was almost over and the midfielder’s cross into the six yard box came to nothing.

Partick Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell (McAleer 73), Robertson (Balatoni 11), Archibald, Sinclair (McGuigan 23), Paton, Cairney, Welsh, Bannigan, Erskine, Doolan. Subs not used: Scully, Elliot.

Attendance: 1,637