The promotion play-offs are looming large for Dundee United after this dispiriting defeat at Firhill.
Tannadice old boy Scott McDonald’s early goal gave Thistle the lead when he headed home at the back post after Mark Reynolds misjudged a long diagonal ball.
Benjamin Siegrist did brilliantly to prevent a second from McDonald when Reynolds was short with a headed back pass.
Then, when Nicky Clark curled home an 18-yard free-kick on 76 minutes the comeback looked to be on.
United needed all three points and threw everything at getting a winner but they lacked the necessary composure.
You couldn’t blame them for gambling but that left them open to being caught out on the counter attack and in the dying minutes Aidan Fitzpatrick did just that with a calm finish past Siegrist.
United thought they had grabbed a stoppage time equaliser but Pavol Safranko’s effort was disallowed for offside.