By Graeme McGill
Partick Thistle have progressed to the next round of the Scottish Cup following a battling 1-0 victory over Penicuik.
Whilst many anticipated a cricket score for the home team the game was a lot tighter over the 90 minutes than Ian McCall would have hoped. Thistle started the game very well and grabbed the first and only goal of the game within the first minute courtesy of Reece Cole, who latched onto a long ball before calmly slotting the ball under Penicuik keeper Robert Watt.
Penicuik grew into the game and gave a very good account of themselves, showing grit and determination to keep themselves in the game for 90 minutes.
Ultimately Partick Thistle have secured a place in the fifth round draw but the game was far from the routine and comprehensive victory the Firhill faithful would have been expecting. Here are three things we learned
Partick Thistle are far from the finished article
Euromillions winner Colin Weir completed the acquisition of Partick Thistle earlier this week by buying a controlling stake of 55% of the club. This performance suggests he may have to get the chequebook out again come the January transfer window and provide funds for manager Ian McCall to bring in fresh faces.
Make no mistake Partick Thistle were made to work much harder than they would have been expected to in order to book their place in the next round. A lack of creativity in midfield saw them engineer very few clear cut chances against a level of opposition that they should have on paper at least dealt with easily.
Two dubious refereeing decisions to wave away penalty claims from Craig Slater and Osman Kakay may have gone against the home side but a 3-0 scoreline would have flattered The Jags and slandered the do or die display of the Penicuik players.
2. Penicuik are a force to be reckoned with
The East of Scotland Football League side came into today’s clash as massive underdogs. However, they played with a level of grit and tenacity that is rare to see in teams so far down the football league pecking order.
After a shaky first half hour they really settled into the game and played well to the extent that Thistle would have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle. Their battle to get back into the game continued into the second half with them chasing down every loose ball and flying into every 50/50 challenge as though their lives depended on it.
They were spurred on by a capacity away support who were extremely vocal from the first minute to the last and the away fans were in no rush to vacate the stadium after the full time whistle. Away fans stayed back to applaud their team who had defied odds to reach this stage and were unlucky not to earn a replay.
3. The Firhill faithful are growing impatient
A chorus of jeers were heard around Firhill at the half time and full time whistles. The fans of Partick Thistle have been subjected to a disappointing league campaign which sees them rock bottom of the table and five points from safety.
Having won just two of their last five encounters, their Scottish Cup tie should have been a stroll against lower league opposition and a chance to build some momentum before their pivotal clash with Alloa on Tuesday night.
That was not the case and they were made to work hard to defend their narrow advantage over the course of the 90 minutes.