Leagues, Partick Thistle, Ross County, Scottish Premiership, Story


Alex Schalk’s late penalty got Ross County a deserved Ladbrokes Premiership point as they drew 1-1 with Partick Thistle.
The home side were dominant throughout but fell behind in the first half, courtesy of Blair Spittal’s well-taken finish.
It appeared the Staggies’ superiority was to go unrewarded until the final minutes, when Schalk won and converted a merited spot-kick.
The result leaves Partick still looking for their first win of the season, with their opponents now on four points.
County made five changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Rangers a fortnight ago, the most notable seeing Scott Fox dropped after his blunder against the Gers. Aaron McCarey started in goal, with Ross Draper, Thomas Mikkelsen, Davis Keillor-Dunn and Chris Routis also coming in. Fox, Jamie Lindsay, Ryan Dow and Tim Chow dropped to the bench, with Jim O’Brien out with a hamstring injury.
Partick made two changes – the suspended Niall Keown was replaced by Danny Devine, with Ryan Edwards taking Chris Erskine’s place.
This was Keillor-Dunn’s first start after he impressed as a substitute two weeks ago – and McCarey’s first since the 6-0 win over Montrose in July.
Sunderland-born youngster Keillor-Dunn enjoyed a fruitful start to the game, sending a dipping effort at Tomas Cerny, teeing up Craig Curran to head wide and then having a header of his own cleared off the line by Devine.
County dominated the opening exchanges, with Keillor-Dunn at the heart of everything. He moved the ball onto his right foot and whistled a cross-shot in front of Cerny, as the Staggies sought to break the deadlock.
But against the run of play Thistle who took the lead in the 22nd minute, Spittal escaping the attentions of Sean Kelly to meet Edwards’ pass and fire under McCarey.
The hosts – and Keillor-Dunn in particular – were not relenting, as the winger clipped a cross to the back post that Mikkelsen should have made greater contact with.
A defeat here would have made it four in a row for Jim McIntyre’s side and they were determined to stop that happening, with only a despairing block from Devine denying Mikkelsen a certain goal.
The introduction of Schalk and Billy Mckay in the last 20 minutes made a huge difference, with both forcing smart saves out of Scully.
Just when it looked like Thistle were going to withstand a County barrage, Schalk was brought down by Turnbull in the 88th minute in the box, before getting up to send Scully the wrong way from the spot.
There was time for further drama as a superb one-handed save from Scully denied Draper a winner with a powerful header.
ends



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