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Partick Thistle 1-2 Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Highland side secure comeback win in play-off first leg

Inverness Caledonian Thistle will take a slender lead into the second leg of the Scottish Premiership play-off quarter-final after Shane Sutherland inspired a comeback win against Partick Thistle.

Sutherland pounced to equalize after Billy Mckay’s shot was spilled, and then put in a brilliant cross for Austin Samuels to tap home the winner with eight minutes left.

Robbie Crawford had put Partick Thistle in front but it is Inverness who are in pole position to face Arbroath next.

Ian McCall’s side seemed in the ascendancy after Brian Graham’s slick reverse pass teed up Crawford to fire home his first goal for four years after 54 minutes, but in-form Caley Thistle turned the tide.

Having struggled to trouble goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon for the first 69 minutes, Mckay’s shot from the edge of the box forced an error and Sutherland – who got the benefit of a marginal offside call – followed in to level.

In an end-to-end match, the home side had a huge chance to take the lead when substitute Juan Alegria latched on to a terrible back pass from Inverness defender David Carson, but the Rangers loanee fired over the bar.

It proved to be a costly miss as Inverness – who finished one place above their opponents in the regular season – soon went up the other end of the pitch, where Sutherland floated in an inch-perfect cross for Samuels to side-foot beyond Sneddon.

The tie remains finely poised with the return in Inverness to come on Friday, but Billy Dodds’ side hold the momentum as well as the scoreline advantage after an impressive turnaround.

Partick Thistle manager Ian McCall: “I felt we edged it. It’s tough out there. We took the lead, and the goalie’s got to do better with the goal it’s that simple. And he knows that. And then Juan misses the best chance of the game. In a game of this magnitude, that’s a big moment.

“And then our captain [Ross] Docherty, who was outstanding, made a mistake. We made two mistakes and got punished for them. We’re a bit gutted but the tie is most certainly not over.”

Inverness CT manager Billy Dodds: “I thought it was an even game to be honest. They had a chance to go 2-1 up, we take our chances. First half was pretty even as well. I’d have taken a draw but I love the win. It’s only half way there though.

“Thistle are going to come to Inverness on Friday and have a go and hopefully we can pick them off at the right times and have the tie killed off.”

Line-ups

Partick Thistle

Formation 4-3-3

  • oneSneddon
  • 16mckenna
  • 18Akinola
  • 3holt
  • 33HendrieBooked at 40mins
  • 22Crawford
  • 23Docherty
  • 8Bannigan
  • 10JakubiakSubstituted forHappinessat 74′minutes
  • 9GrahamBooked at 76minsSubstituted forSmithat 86′minutes
  • 7tiffoney

substitutes

  • twoFoster
  • elevenSmith
  • 13firth
  • fifteenBell
  • 17Murray
  • 25Happiness
  • 30stanway

Inverness CT

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • oneridgers
  • 8Carson
  • fifteenBroadfoot
  • 6Devine
  • 5Deas
  • 4Welsh
  • 23McAlear
  • elevenSutherland
  • 14walshSubstituted forHydeat 19′minutesSubstituted forsamuelsat 60′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 17ChalmerBooked at 49minsSubstituted forHarperat 75′minutes
  • 9MckaySubstituted forHardyat 75′minutes

substitutes

  • 3Harper
  • 18Allardice
  • twentyHardy
  • twenty-oneMacKay
  • 24samuels
  • 28Hyde

Referee:
Steven McLean

attendance:
2,919

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