Brian Graham strikes late as Partick Thistle edge first-leg thriller
Partick Thistle striker Brian Graham struck a stoppage-time play-off winner as Queen’s Park found themselves on the wrong end of another high-scoring thriller.
A brilliant double from Dom Thomas saw Queen’s come from two goals down late on but Graham struck in the seventh minute of time added to earn Kris Doolan’s side a 4-3 victory in the first leg of the cinch Premiership play-off quarter-finals at Firhill.
Thomas initially hit back in the first half after strikes from Kyle Turner and Jack McMillan.
Aidan Fitzpatrick capitalised on a defensive blunder to restore Thistle’s two-goal advantage but Malachi Boateng pulled one back in controversial circumstances before Thomas levelled in the 87th minute.
But Queen’s were soon stung four days after their 5-3 defeat by Dundee in the Championship decider as they fell to a sixth defeat in eight matches.
The visitors had two good early chances but Grant Savoury curled just wide from 20 yards following indecision in the home defence and David Mitchell denied Charlie Fox from close range.
The Jags settled and Turner drove into the box and fired just over before giving his side the lead in the 15th minute. The midfielder turned inside Jack Thomson and fired a shot which took a major deflection off Fox and fooled goalkeeper Callum Ferrie.
Graham soon had a goal ruled offside but Thistle had their second in the 28th minute. Turner’s pass sent Scott Tiffoney in behind after Jake Davidson’s failed attempt to play offside and the attacker cut the ball back for right-back McMillan to fire high into the net.
The Spiders responded five minutes later. With Jags midfielder Stuart Bannigan down injured, Thomas ran unchallenged from inside his own half to the edge of the Thistle box. He then faced a wall of red and yellow jerseys but twisted and turned and drove home from 20 yards.
Bannigan was replaced by Fitzpatrick while Savoury soon went off injured for Queen’s.
Tiffoney stabbed a good chance just wide soon after the restart before substitute Patrick Jarrett sliced over at the other end.
Louis Longridge came close for Queen’s but the visitors gifted Thistle a goal in the 69th minute. Left-back Tommy Robson was short with a pass back to his goalkeeper and Tiffoney nipped in and squared for Fitzpatrick to find the empty net.
Queen’s got a lifeline in the 83rd minute when Boateng’s 25-yard strike took a huge deflection off the head of Lee Hodson and flew into the corner of the net. The home side had a strong claim for a foul on Turner by Marcel Oakley just before the ball broke to Boateng but referee Kevin Clancy was unmoved.
Thomas soon seized the initiative, collecting the ball on the halfway line, drifting past two opponents and firing a shot from nearly 30 yards which swerved past Mitchell.
Treatment for Thomson delayed a Thistle free-kick in what looked certain to be the last chance for either team but Graham eventually latched on to a flick-on to fire into the corner.