Hearts and Partick Thistle played out an entertaining 2-2 draw a home this afternoon.
Thistle took a second-half lead through Kris Doolan before Isma leveled from the spot and Danny Devine saw red for handball. The visitors regained the lead soon after through Steven Lawless before a late Andraz Struna equaliser made sure Hearts got a point, in a game where the men in maroon registered 26 shots on goal.
Ian Cathro made one change from the side that drew away to Kilmarnock two weeks ago; Moha Choulay replaced Perry Kitchen.
Hearts registered the game’s first shot on goal after ten minutes following Struna’s cleared cross the ball fell to Arnaud Djoum 20-yards out but he powered his effort over the crossbar.
Two minutes later Isma dinked a delightful ball into the Thistle box and Jamie Walker was eventually able to pull off a shot but it was well wide of the target.
The boys in maroon were beginning to ramp up the pressure and Don Cowie’s 13th minute cross into the box was chested down by Isma, but it was too heavy a touch and allowed Tomas Cerny to gather.
The game became a midfield battle with neither side getting particularly close to the other’s goal. Callum Booth’s 26th minute free-kick was knocked across the face of goal by Niall Keown but there were no takers inside the six-yard box.
Hearts came closest to opening the scoring when Struna hit the woodwork. Choulay showed fantastic feet to dance his way into the Thistle box and cross for Isma, whose flick towards goal was cleared but only as far as the Slovenian, who spun and smacked the ball off the crossbar from inside the box.
Walker was inches away from giving Hearts the lead with three minutes to go until half time. Some neat build up play saw the ball moved inside to the winger, who placed a shot on target but a slight deflection carried it inches wide of Cerny’s left-hand post.
It took the Jambos three minutes to create their first chance of the second-half when Walker slipped through Isma after a quick breakaway, but the striker could only find the side netting from close range.
Bang on 50 minutes, the visitors took the lead. Steven Lawless was afforded space down the left to float a ball to the back door and the unmarked Doolan headed beyond Hamilton.
Hearts went straight up the park and should’ve equalised. Cowie’s pinpoint cross was met by Isma, who had the goal at his mercy, but he could only head wide.
Moments later a fluid passing move saw Isma tee up Cowie inside the box, but the midfielder’s effort was tame and straight at Cerny.
Cowie tested Cerny just after the hour mark with a rasping drive at the edge of the box but the ‘keeper did well to beat it away.
What followed was a period of intense attacking pressure from Hearts, culminating in Cerny pulling off a great double-save from Djoum after the midfielder rose to meet Walker’s corner.
Hearts had Jack Hamilton to thank for keeping them in the game. A ball over to Erskine, who was in acres of space, saw the Thistle player go one-on-one but the Jambos ‘keeper diverted the ball behind.
With 70 minutes on the clock Hearts were awarded a penalty after Devine handled Cowie’s shot inside the box, and Isma stepped up to slam the ball beyond Cerny to make it 1-1.
It didn’t stay a draw for long, as Thistle regained the lead three minutes later. A through ball found Lawless on the edge of the box and he sprung the offside trap to run through and place beyond Hamilton.
A string of Cerny saves denied Hearts a second equaliser, firstly stopping a Djoum header and then saving a low Liam Smith drive.
With time running out, Hearts got a deserved goal. Substitute Sam Nicholson’s cross was blocked on the line but Struna popped up to fire the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-2.
Nicholson then blasted a fantastic shot inches wide from the edge of the box, before the Jambos passed up a golden opportunity to get the winner when Isma went clean through but he could only fire straight at Cerny, and the match finished all square.
Hearts: Hamilton, Smith, Buaben, Nowak, Struna, Tziolis (Johnsen, 79'), Djoum, Choulay (Nicholson, 79'), Cowie, Isma, Walker. Subs: Noring, Sowah, Avlonitis, Maetin, Kitchen.
Partick Thistle: Cerny, Booth, Doolan, Erskine (Azeez, 79'), Lawless, Barton, Elliott, Devine, Keown, Edwards, McCarthy. Subs: Ridgers, Amoo, McLaughin, Nisbet, Lamont.
Referee: Andrew Dallas