Hibs 1, Partick Th 1: Collins saves point for Hibs

Danny Handling gives chase to Partick's Gabriel Piccolo. Pic: SNS
Danny Handling gives chase to Partick's Gabriel Piccolo. Pic: SNS
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A dramatic injury time goal from James Collins rescued a point for Hibs and kept new boss Terry Butcher’s unbeaten record intact.

Partick looked certain to take all three points thanks to Kris Doolan’s goal early in the second half but as the game crept deep into the four minutes added on by referee James Beaton, substitute Michael Nelson got his head to Ben Williams’ free-kick nodding the ball down for Collins to lash home from just six yards out.

Scott Robertson failed a pre-match fitness test on his damaged hamstring, forcing Butcher into one change from the side whichi defeated Ross County, Owain Tudur Jones stepping into central midfield alongside Liam Craig.

A minute’s applause to mark the death of Nelson Mandela preceded kick-off, former Jags midfielder Paul Cairney going straight on the attack as he cut in from the left firing in a shot which Thistle goalkeeper Scott Fox just managed to fingertip round the post..

Danny Handling had a shot charged down and Paul Hanlon headed wide as the home side tried to force an early goal but Partick began to settle, Steven Lawless clipping a tame shot into the arms of Ben Williams, the Hibs goalkeeper who then had to beat away a powerful effort from Kallum Higginbotham.

But as the half-hour mark came and went neither side could lay claim to having created a clear-cut opportunity. Hibs, though, did that just three minutes later, Alan Maybury whipping in a terrific cross from the right flank which was taken off the toes of Lewis Stevenson, playing his 200th game for the Capital club, by a perfectly timed tackle from Jordan McMillan.

Hibs should have tested Fox again when Cairney found himself in possession 18 yards out but he delayed his pass to the unmarked Handling which gave Aaron Muirhead the time he needed to make up enough ground to block the youngster’s shot.

Ryan McGivern went close for Hibs three minutes before the interval., unleashing a powerful shot from fully 35 yards, causing Fox to throw himself full-length to his left to touch the ball wide.

Tudur Jones forced Fox into another good save on the restart but Thistle stunned Hibs as Doolan nicked the ball ahead of Jordon Forster and had the pace to beat both the backtracking youngster and Hanlon before coolly slipping the ball beyond Williams.

James Collins thought he had equalised seven minutes later as he met Cairney’s flick, hammering the ball down and goalwards into the turf only to see Fox again throw himself full-length to push his shot wide.

Jags substitute Ross Forbes had a wonderful chance to tie it up for the Maryhill side 14 minutes from time but, with only Williams to beat he pulled his shot wide.

And at the other end Jason Cummings should have equalised for Hibs only seconds after replacing Stevenson, the teenager, who has scored 27 goals for the club’s Under-20 and East of Scotland teams this season, somehow failing to even make contact a yard out as Forster nodded Craig’s corner back across goal.

But just has Hibs looked to be heading for certain defeat came that late, dramatic equaliser.

Hibs: Williams, Maybury (Nelson 86), Forster, Hanlon, McGivern, Cairney, Tudur Jones, Craig, Stevenson (Cummings 77), Handling (Zoubir 60), Collins.

Substitutes not used: Murdoch, Taiwo, Caldwell, Thomson.

Partick Thistle: Fox, McMillan, Muirhead, Piccolo, Taylor-Sinclair, Higginbotham (Baird 70), Osbourne, Craigen, Lawless (Forbes 32),, Elliott, Doolan (Lindsay 90+1).

Substiutes not used: Gallacher, Kerr, Wilson, Meechan.

Referee: John Beaton.