Aberdeen miss opportunity to go ahead of Celtic to top
ABERDEEN passed up the opportunity to move to the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership as they were held to a 0-0 draw by in-form Partick Thistle.
They missed out on top spot on Saturday as they were held to a draw by Inverness, a result that was matched by Celtic against Hearts on Sunday to maintain a solitary point gap. Wednesday's Storm Frank-induced postponement of the Hoops' televised trip to Dundee had given the Dons a second bite at the cherry.
But it was always going to be difficult against a Thistle side seeking a fifth consecutive victory. The draw moved Aberdeen level on points with Celtic but they are way behind on goal difference, having also played two more games than the Glasgow giants.
Despite presenting little in the way of threat themselves, the Jags went toe to toe with their opponents and restricted them to half-chances in the first 45 minutes. Early on, Aberdeen's Jonny Hayes pounced on a poor Liam Lindsay header, forcing Tomas Cerny to flick his low shot round the upright.
The goalkeeper was beaten all ends up when Graeme Shinnie tried his luck from 20 yards, only for the left-back's shot to crash back off the crossbar.
Thistle seemed happy to match their opponents but Aberdeen have shown already this season that they can be patient when necessary and they soon began to knock at the door more forcefully.
First Hayes, a threat as always, met Ash Taylor's knock-down from a Shinnie free-kick, but failed to connect with his low shot in any meaningful way. Then Kenny McLean tried his luck, spinning neatly on the edge of the area midway through the second half, only for his shot to be comfortably saved.
Home captain Ryan Jack was forced off through injury and replacement Peter Pawlett's first involvement was to end a jinking run with a blocked shot. The rebound fell to Hayes, who delayed his shot too long and was closed down.
The introduction of striker Mathias Pogba for the final 15 minutes unsettled the Dons, and Thistle were suddenly a threat. Pogba, the brother of Juventus midfielder Paul, flashed a warning shot across the face of Dan Ward's goal with five minutes left.
But Aberdeen should have earned the points with two minutes left on the clock. Hayes squared to the usually-deadly Adam Rooney, but the Irishman took a touch when he should have pounced, and the chance was gone.
Even with the addition of five minutes of injury time, and the Dons' impressive record of scoring late goals this term, there was to be no separating the sides, leaving Aberdeen feeling another golden opportunity had passed them by.