Hibernian 1-1 Partick: Match Report
Hibernian 1-1 Partick: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Collins leaves it late
James Collins struck a dramatic late equaliser to rescue a Scottish Premiership point for Terry Butcher against Partick in his first home match in charge of Hibernian.
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, who has endured a frustrating spell with the Hibees since arriving from Swindon in close season, lashed home from close range to secure a 1-1 draw and break the hearts of the resolute visitors.
Hibs have still only won two league matches at Easter Road in the whole of 2013, and looked destined for defeat when Kris Doolan gave the Glasgow outfit a shock second half lead in the capital.
The Thistle striker defied his recent run of four matches without a goal to dance past two challenges and clip the ball past goalkeeper Ben Williams.
While Doolan will lap up the plaudits for a memorable effort, Thistle keeper Scott Fox must also be commended for a series of fine saves.
However, their resistance was ultimately broken as the hosts threw bodies forward in the dying embers of the encounter.
It was a former Jags favourite who was first to threaten Fox after just three minutes, with Paul Cairney showing neat footwork to cut inside and sting the palms of the visiting goalkeeper.
With the hosts looking exceedingly bright in the opening 10 minutes, Paul Hanlon then flashed a header just wide.
Thistle, however, were equally sharp on the break, and a neat surge forward concluded with Kallum Higginbotham forcing a sharp save from Williams with a powerful drive from 18 yards.
There was a lengthy delay to proceedings with the half-hour mark approaching after Steven Lawless sustained a seemingly serious injury in inconspicuous fashion. The diminutive winger collapsed to the turf around the halfway line and, after several minutes of treatment, was taken from the field on a stretcher by medical staff to be replaced by Ross Forbes.
When play resumed Hibs almost claimed the lead in audacious style, with Ryan McGivern producing a fizzing low shot from fully 40 yards, forcing Fox to desperately scamper across his goalmouth to parry wide.
The second half began in blistering style, with both Forbes and Owain Tudur Jones both producing fine efforts from distance to test the respective goalkeepers - but even better was to come on 48 minutes.
Doolan opened the scoring by skipping past a flat-footed Jordon Forster midway inside the Hibs half, surging into the penalty area and dropping a shoulder to leave Hanlon standing. He finished his run in sumptuous style, clipping the ball over the onrushing Williams into the net.
As perhaps the best British centre-back of his generation, Butcher would have despaired at the powder-puff defending on show, but the travelling band of Thistle fans lapped up a magic solo goal.
Fox, who earned his first Scotland call-up for last month's friendly against Norway, was showing the form which caught the eye of Gordon Strachan, and produced a marvellous full-length save to deny Collins' scuffed shot from inside the box on 65 minutes.
Collins was left frustrated again minutes later as he headed straight into the arms of the Thistle stopper from six yards.
When late substitute Jason Cummings - Hibs' teenage striker with 27 goals in youth football this season - took a wild swing at fresh air from close range with the goal gaping, it appeared not to be Butcher's day.
However, the home side showed admirable spirit to continue to push for the leveller and were rewarded as Collins latched onto a nod-down in the box to smash a low shot past Fox.
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