By Ben McNicol
Partick Thistle and Morton’s League Cup campaigns fizzled out with a 0-0 stalemate at Firhill, Rangers loanee Kieran Wright deservedly grabbing the headlines with two fine penalty saves and keeping his first clean sheet for the Jags.
The visitors started the game on the front foot and had three chances, all from set-pieces, to open the scoring within the first seven minutes, Markus Fjørtoft, Michael Ledger and Ross MacIver all heading wide from close range.
Thistle’s first and only opportunity of the first half arrived on the 15th minute when Rhys Breen ventured forward and tried his luck from range, his eventual shot going narrowly wide of his former Rangers teammate Aidan McAdam’s post.
The Ton were well on top as the first half came to a close, the best chance of the game arriving seconds before half-time, no surprise to see it come from another set-piece. Lewis Strapp’s long throw-in caused all sorts of chaos inside the six-yard box and the ball fell straight into the path of MacIver, who’s header was well-saved by Wright from point-blank range.
Hopkin’s men had the ball in the net not once but twice in the early stages of the second-half, one being ruled out for offside while the other was harshly disallowed after MacIver was judged to have fouled his marker.
Wright was having an absolute blinder and was keeping his side in the contest single-handedly. On the 76th minute MacIver’s powerful strike from close-range looked destined to break the deadlock at long last. However, once again the Jags stopper was equal to it, tipping it over the bar.
Partick Thistle’s first shot on target arrived in the dying embers when a deep free kick by Joe Cardle found the head of Breen, but his tame effort was easily gathered by McAdams.
It finished goalless in Maryhill, a pretty pointless penalty shoot-out followed as both teams were unable to qualify for the competition’s last 16 regardless of the result. Thistle ultimately gained the bonus point with a 4-2 win from the spot-kicks. Here are three things we learned.
Morton’s set-piece threat
The Ton troubled Partick Thistle all afternoon with their aerial threat and they will probably be aggrieved that they failed to score from one of their handful of exceptional chances. Morton were the side who scored the most goals from set-pieces last season and you’d imagine they won’t be far off the top again at the end of this year.
Injury List Gets Longer for Ian McCall
Partick Thistle started this afternoon’s game with only 14 outfield players available. Things unfortunately got even worse for the Jags as arguably their best player this season, Blair Spittal, hobbled off with a hamstring injury and left Firhill in crutches.
Wright plays a blinder
It’s fair to say that there would have only been one winner in this fixture had Wright not made a whole array of unbelievable saves to keep the score line at 0-0. The Rangers youngster’s display was one of a few positives that McCall can take from a game where his side didn’t hit top form.