Hamilton Accies were held to a goalless opening day draw against 10-man Partick Thistle thanks to the heroics of debutant goalkeeper Tomas Cerny.
The Jags had to play most of the game a man down after Frederic Frans was sent off on 25 minutes for a second bookable offence.
Accies dominated the proceedings thereafter but couldn’t find a way past Cerny, with Ali Crawford denied by a magnificent save before substitute Greg Docherty hit the post from the edge of the box.
Alan Archibald was undoubtedly the happier manager after the game. “I’ve got to be happy with the point, with 10 men. We worked hard and rode our luck.
“Our goalkeeper was outstanding and you need that with 10 men. It’s hard with 10 men in the first game of the season.”
It was always going to be an uphill battle for Thistle once referee Brian Colvin reached for his second yellow card after Frans had brought down Antons Kurakins – his first caution for a clumsy tackle on Christian Nade. Both were yellows but they were his only challenges he’d made in the game and was perhaps a touch unfortunate to be dismissed.
Archibald certainly thought so: “It was very harsh. It’ll be a long season if he’s going to give decisions like that.”
It forced the Jags into a reshuffle and a considerably young looking centre-back pairing of Liam Lindsay and substitute Jack Hendry took the stage after Ryan Stevenson had been sacrificed.
Their vulnerability was highlighted when new Accies signing Chris Turner found space in the six-yard box for a free header but he directed it over.
At the other end Callum Booth’s incisive pass found Sean Welsh but he couldn’t squeeze his shot past Michael McGovern in a rare Thistle counter.
Accies should have taken the lead before the end of the first half when Imrie cut the ball back to Crawford but he dragged his shot wide from 12 yards. “It probably cost us the game,” he lamented afterwards.
Crawford was afforded another opportunity at the start of the second half but again Cerny was equal to the shot before Louis Longridge was denied as the Accies onslaught continued.[soccer-info id=’31’ type=’results’ /]
Martin Canning’s men were relentless. Their sharp, incisive play not receiving the outcome it deserved. Crawford must have known it wasn’t his day when the ball was played back to him and he struck a vicious right-foot drive towards the target but somehow Cerny leaped across to push it over.
The anguish was to continue for the hosts when Docherty’s shot hit the inside off the post and bounced to safety as Thistle held on for a point.
Accies boss Canning said: There is a mixture of emotions. We deserved to win the game, I don’t think there is any doubt about that.
“Even when it was 11 versus 11, we were the better team. With 10 versus 11, there was only one team in it. In games like that, the first goal is crucial.”