Hearts 2-2 Partick: Match Report

29 April 2017

Andraz Struna's last gasp effort earns Hearts point against Partick Thistle

Hearts' European aspirations are hanging by a thread despite a dramatic last-minute strike by Andraz Struna salvaging a 2-2 draw against 10-man Partick Thistle.

After a dour first period, the fixture exploded into life at Tynecastle after the break when Kris Doolan nodded home his 14th goal of an impressive campaign.

Hearts levelled courtesy of a Isma Goncalves penalty - with Thistle defender Daniel Devine given his marching orders for the handball which conceded the penalty - only for the plucky visitors to reclaim the lead through Steven Lawless.

However, Struna - who had struck the bar earlier in the contest - pounced in the dying embers to ensure a share of the spoils.

While extending fifth-placed Hearts' unbeaten run to three matches, the result did nothing to bolster their Europa League hopes, with St Johnstone's win at Aberdeen extending the gap to fourth to six points. Thistle, meanwhile, remained just four adrift of the Jambos.

Arnaud Djoum was first to threaten after 10 minutes, firing a hopeful drive over the bar from the edge of the box, before Niall Keown skewed a volley wide after meeting a Callum Booth delivery.

Hearts were left to curse the crossbar as half-time approached when Struna latched onto a loose ball in the box and rattled the woodwork with a ferocious volley. Minutes later Jamie Walker saw his effort from 18 yards deflect wide.

Thistle claimed the lead five minutes after the break, with Lawless dancing to the byline before clipping a magnificent delivery to the back-post where an unmarked Doolan headed home from six yards.

Goncalves missed a gilt-edged opportunity restore parity immediately, somehow heading wide from point-blank range. With Hearts throwing bodies forward in search of a leveller, Don Cowie stung the palms of Tomas Cerny with two efforts in quick succession.

Hearts desperation almost allowed the Maryhill men to strike on the break, however Jack Hamilton stood tall to deny Chris Erskine following a lightening counter-attack.

When the Jambos did equalise, it came in contentious fashion. Referee Andrew Dallas adjudged Devine to have deliberately blocked a Cowie shot with his hand and pointed to the penalty spot and showed the Thistle stopper a second yellow card. Goncalves slotted home from 12 yards.

Remarkably, it took 10-man Thistle restored their advantage three minutes later as the excellent Lawless scampered onto a Erskine through-ball and dinked a delightful finish beyond Hamilton.

The visitors could not hold on, however, as the unlikely figure of Struna claimed his first goal for the Jambos, keeping his composure at the back post to convert a deep delivery by Sam Nicholson.

Goncalves passed up a golden chance to complete a thrilling comeback deep into stoppage time when he was sent clear by Bjorn Johnsen, but his tame effort was saved by Cerny.

Source: PA