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141213 partick brill 001Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 v 4 Partick Th

The headline, unfortunately, isn’t a misprint. The battle of the respective Thistles ended with a result that few would have predicted and even fewer would have seen the manner of this defeat from afar. The bookies certainly didn’t. The immediate consequences are that Celtic have pulled six points ahead in the race for the League title and are eight goals to the better in goal difference in a single tumultuous weekend, and a whole lot of accumulator bets were sunk without trace.

141213 partick watkins 002It might have been all so different with a couple of minutes on the clock had Marley Watkins, released by a ball through the Partick defence, managed to score rather than angle his drive just wide of Gallacher’s post. As it was, Inverness paid for that by losing the opening goal ten minutes later as Stevenson grabbed his first of the day. It was a goal that the Caley Jags never really looked like recovering from. Strangely hesitant at the back, they found increasing Partick pressure heaped upon them and it was no real surprise when Stevenson added to his tally with five minutes to go to the interval.

As John Hughes said: “From the first whistle, Partick Thistle deserved their victory. They were better on the ball, hungrier than us and their shape was better. We were unbeaten at home and we just need to take it on the chin. You get knocked off the bike sometimes and you have to pick yourselves up and get back on it.”

141213 partick mckay 001If Yogi had entertained hopes that Inverness might respond in the second half, they were dashed when Fraser headed Partick further ahead in forty nine minutes and the contest effectively withered away. That had been preceded by the brightest, but briefest flash of light from Inverness as David Raven crashed a thirty five yard shot past Gallacher. It summed up Caley Thistle’s day in a second as it was ruled out for a fairly obscure offside. Inverness changed things, bringing on Doran and Christie but by then Balatoni had compounded their misery by scoring a barely creditable fourth. Too late, the substitutes could not replicate the devastating impact that they had in Dundee the previous weekend. "If we had scored the Marley Watkins chance and gone 1-0 up it might've put a different edge on the game but it wasn't to be. "We got lucky last week. This week we gave ourselves too much to do. One on one, all over the pitch, we were second best."

And that was that really. The only thing that can be said is that it won’t happen every week, Hughes and Latapy will see to that. It may not happen again all season, and Inverness remain second in the League going into Saturday’s game at St. Johnstone. Mercifully, Partick are off the radar until February when the small matter of a Scottish Cup fifth round tie awaits at Firhill. It can’t come quickly enough.

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