Thistle entertain the Firhill crowd despite goalless draw

There was no shortage of entertainment when Thistle welcomed Dundee United to Firhill to kick off their first game back in top flight Scottish football for nine years - despite a goalless draw.

Thistle’s goalie Scott Fox was called into action early on, but most of the early pressure was from the home side.

Four corners in quick succession were won in th 12th minute Kris Doolan almost scored, but was unable to get to the ball.

United force Fox to make a save in the 16th minute and Paul Paton tested him again with a ferocious drive tiped over the bar by this time doing well to tip Paton’s ferocious drive over the bar.

As the first half progressed it was Thistle that came the closest to taking the lead. With just nine minutes remaining a cross bounced off Sean Dillion and it took an excellent stop from Cierzniak to prevent his team mate from scoring an own goal.

United started the second half better. A shot was curled dangerously from the right corner of the Thistle box wide of the opposite post before testing Fox with a well struck effort after he managed to evade the attentions of Conrad Balatoni.

Thistle though were soon seen as an attacking force again. Doolan saw a shot tipped over the bar by Cierzniak.

Tempers flared shortly afterwards when Butcher’s lunge on Gary Fraser was punished only by a yellow card when many people felt that the colour of the referee’s card should have been red.

Fraser, who had an excellent Thistle debut before being replaced by Ross Forbes, wasn’t affected by that challenge and he tested Cierzniak with a well struck shot that was heading for the bottom right hand corner.

John Baird, on as a substitute for Kris Doolan, too came close with a header from close range that Cierzniak was hard pressed to touch over his crossbar.

There was little doubt that both teams desperately wanted to win this game. Brian Graham, often a thorn in Thistle’s side in the past, was denied by another good Fox stop while Taylor-Sinclair shot into the side netting for Thistle after collecting a pass from Steven Lawless.

If Butcher was lucky not to be punished more severely for his challenge on Gary Fraser he was fortunate to escape any punishment at all when he lunged in on Stuart Bannigan inside the United box as Thistle, for the second time during the game, had a strong claim for a penalty.

Thistle too could have won the game deep into injury time.

Ross Forbes let fly from fully 30 yards from goal and with the ball swerving in front of him Cierzniak produced a good save to keep the ball out and preserve the 0-0 score line.