Partick Thistle 1-0 Penicuik Athletic: Brave performance from Cuikie in front of travelling masses

Early Jags goal makes difference in Scottish Cup tie
Scott McCrory-Irving drives forward for Penicuik. Pic: SNSScott McCrory-Irving drives forward for Penicuik. Pic: SNS
Scott McCrory-Irving drives forward for Penicuik. Pic: SNS

Penicuik Athletic put in their performance of their lives in the Scottish Cup away to Championship club Partick Thistle, but ultimately came up short as they were backed by an incredible visiting support of over 1300.

It was not the start Penicuik wished for as their defence was breached inside the opening 90 seconds, with a long ball over the top cutting through the visiting defence and Reece Cole volleyed first time into the far corner past Robert Watt to put the Championship’s bottom club ahead.

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Penicuik were given a let off after nine minutes when keeper Watt nearly ended up with egg on his face. After dummying ex-Hearts kid Dario Zanatta, he didn’t get the ball away quick enough, with his kick out going straight to Craig Slater, who tried to lob Watt. However, the former Tynecastle stopper recovered to push wide for a corner.

The visiting support were up off their feet when Penicuik’s first chance arrived a few minutes later as midfielder Sam Jones was put through one-on-one with Thistle keeper Scott Fox, but he sent his shot wide of the post.

Referee Mike Roncone paused proceedings after 20 minutes due to four blue and white balloons making their way onto the park, with Penicuik’s Aaron Ponton jaunting over to stamp out the balloons, bringing much to the delight to the 1300 strong visiting support.

Penicuik grew in confidence after the opening 20 minutes and went toe-to-toe with the home side as the first half drew to a close; their quick passing and movement securing a lot of territory in the final third with the home fans increasingly restless.

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Thistle were on the ropes as the half-time whistle approached as centre-back Greg Page managed to get a shot away which looked destined for the net, only for home captain Tam O’Ware to fling himself in front of the attempt to make the block.

Kevin Milne and Tony Begg’s side ran up the tunnel at the break with their tails up when Roncone’s whistle brought a chorus of jeers from the home support which were contrasted with loud cheers from the Cuikie faithful.

The visitors momentum was disturbed by the 15 minute pause with Thistle boss Ian McCall clearly not happy with his side’s display as he made two replacements at the interval with veteran striker Kenny Miller thrown into action.

Watt came to the rescue of team-mate Page after his slack pass was intercepted by Cole on the hour, who ran through on goal against Penicuik’s keeper, who did well to come out and smother the shot.

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Miller was just an inch away from making it two for Thistle on 65 minutes when he got on the end of fellow substitute Osman Kakay’s cross to the back post, but saw his attempt from a yard out come off the woodwork.

Left-back Craig Stevenson shot straight at Fox with nine minutes remaining after a quick Cuikie breakaway started by the impressive Lambert Kateleza, who along with Sean Stewart gave Penicuik some attacking flair with their introductions.

In the end, it wasn’t to be for Penicuik, who were fully deserving of a replay. The players and backroom staff took the adulation of their supporters in front of the Jackie Husband stand after the final whistle.