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Partick Thistle 0 – 0 Arbroath: Lichties pass up chance to close gap as Chris Hamilton stretchered off

Chris Hamilton receives treatment from medics
Chris Hamilton receives treatment from medics

Arbroath missed the chance to close the gap on Kilmarnock at the top of the Championship after a 0-0 draw with Partick Thistle.

With the Ayrshire side dropping points on Friday night, the Lichties passed up the opportunity to move within two points of Derek McInnes’ men.

But the scrappy game was overshadowed by an injury to Lichties midfielder Chris Hamilton.

The 20-year-old was stretched from the field towards the end of the first half.

Hamilton has been a key player in the heart of the defence and could be a huge lose to the side should his injury prove to be serious.

Four changes

Dick Campbell made four changes to the side which drew 3-3 with Raith Rovers last weekend.

Some of the Arbroath players at Firhill before kick off.
Some of the Arbroath players at Firhill before kick off.

First-choice keeper Derek Gaston reclaimed his position in between the sticks with Calum Antell dropping to the bench,

Scott Stewart, Liam Henderson and Dale Hilson also started in place of Jason Thomson, James Craigen and Craig Wighton.

Pitch causes problems

The much-criticised Firhill surface looked to have improved from recent weeks but it was evident in the opening period of this clash that it was still causing players problems.

Arbroath looked frustrated, unable to play slick passes along the deck with the ball bobbling and bouncing unpredictably on the dry field.

Partick looked edgy, too, with players misjudging bouncing balls with little quality from either side.

Both Partick and Arbroath struggled with the bounce of the ball.
Both Partick and Arbroath struggled with the bounce of the ball.

The first real chance came for the home side on 19 minutes and it was a surface which played a hand.

A cross was played in and Brian Graham found himself in good fortune as the ball trundled to his feet. The striker worked a quick but tame effort at ball which was blocked by Ricky Little.

On 31 minutes, Graham threatened again. Ciaran McKenna and Cammy Smith combined well down the right but Graham’s header was easily gathered by Gaston.

The visitors were dealt a blow on 36 minutes with midfielder Chris Hamilton having to be stretchered off the field.

The Hearts loanee was on the receiving end of a number of tough tackles in the half but was forced off after a 50-50 challenge with Kyle Turner.

Arbroath's Chris Hamilton receives treatment in the first half.
Arbroath’s Chris Hamilton receives treatment in the first half.

Lichties boss Dick Campbell came down from his seat in the stands to remonstrate with referee Alan Newlands and was booked for his protests.

To add insult to injury, the tackle was deemed fair by the man in the middle with no free kick awarded.

After a lengthy stoppage, the player was carried from the field by medical staff with both sets of supporters in applause.

Moments later, substitute David Gold almost made an instant impact with his volley from the edge of the box striking the post.

The game seemed to burst in to life just before half time with the Chris Hamilton forced to turn the ball behind at the back post from a Scott Tiffoney cross as Graham looked set to pounce.

But the half ended goalless with Thistle looking the most dangerous and striker Graham spurning a number of chances.

Arbroath ascendancy

The home side started the second period brightly with Graham again going close with a header. Lewis Mayo also saw a headed effort go just over the Arbroath goal.

Gaston was called into action once again and got down well to deny a Graham header.

Derek Gaston gets down well to save a Brian Graham header
Derek Gaston gets down well to save a Brian Graham header

It was soon back to the wall stuff for the visitors with Tiffoney weaving into the box with the Lichties defence scrambling to clear their lines.

Arbroath did begin to show signs of threat with the Jags’ defence troubled by long balls over the top.

Michael McKenna and Jack Hamilton tried shots from distance but it wasn’t enough to trouble Jamie Sneddon in the Jags’ goal.

Dale Hilson and Ciaran McKenna battle for the ball
Dale Hilson and Ciaran McKenna battle for the ball

Hamilton had another effort on goal on 81 minutes after substitute Luke Donnelly played the Livi loanee in, but he couldn’t keep his shot on target.

Donnelly was the next Arbroath player to have a pop at goal but his low effort was straight at the Partick keeper.

The Angus side looked to be in the ascendancy as the game drew to a close but neither side were able to make the breakthrough in a frustrating encounter.

Angus ambitions: What lies ahead for Arbroath, Montrose, Forfar and Brechin this season?