Hearts 1-1 Partick Thistle

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Kris Doolan came off the bench to earn his side a point at Tynecastle

Kris Doolan scored the equaliser as Partick Thistle fought back to deny Hearts a winning return to Tynecastle.

After the match got the go-ahead following a morning inspection of the redeveloped Main Stand, the first half was instantly forgettable.

Isma injected some quality when he cut in from the left and smashed an effort from distance into the far corner.

But substitute Doolan drilled the ball into the bottom corner to earn the Firhill men a draw.

Hearts had been playing their home matches at Murrayfield while the main stand was being redeveloped.

Isma Goncalves produced a fine finish to give the hosts the lead

The last time Tynecastle was open for business six months ago, the Hearts players departed to a chorus of boos after a 2-1 defeat by Aberdeen, a dismal way to mark the curtain coming down on the 103-year history of the old Main Stand.

Former head coach Ian Cathro was also jeered as he joined the players on the pitch after the final whistle, a signal his ill-fated tenure was coming to an end.

A smattering of boos also greeted this result, familiar frustrations evident. While Hearts have become harder to beat under Craig Levein, their football remains disjointed and a difficult watch, over-reliant on brawn.

With all the off-field issues surrounding the club in recent months and the desperately late scramble to get the game on, it was a relief when the action finally got under way on the pitch, albeit 15 minutes late with some supporters still waiting to get in as kick-off approached.

The early skirmishes lacked any bite or fluidity, Hearts relying on being direct while Thistle, attempting a more intricate passing approach, created little of note.

Doolan left the Tynecastle fans frustrated when he netted a late leveller

The pace of David Milinkovic offered promise for Hearts, but the French-Serbian winger, on loan from Genoa, often failed to find an end product to his mazy runs. Creating space for himself just before the interval, he lashed a speculative effort over the bar.

Isma gave Thistle keeper Tomas Cerny an early chance to warm his palms with a comfortable save from his weak free-kick before Hearts fashioned their first real chance.

Jamie Brandon drilled in a low cross from the right flank, Kyle Lafferty turned and fired a left-foot effort just wide of the post.

Thistle, winless in their last 11 away league games, had only scored twice on the road this season and were toothless in attack for long periods.

Their passing was pleasing on the eye – Adam Barton, Steven Lawless and Blair Spittal weaving some intricate triangles down the left – but they struggled to produce any clear-cut chances.

The visitors’ only real effort until the final minute of the first half was a Niall Keown header from a corner that sailed well over the bar.

When lone frontman Miles Storey finally had a sight of goal with the interval approaching, the bustling striker scuffed a glorious chance wastefully wide with his left foot.

The second period appeared to be following a similar pattern to the first until Isma intervened in the 54th minute.

Picking up the ball on the left corner of the Thistle area, the Portuguese striker cut inside on to his favoured right foot and curled a precise shot low into the far corner for his sixth goal of the season.

Hearts’ David Milinkovic was one of the few bright sparks in the first half in Gorgie

Tynecastle rose in appreciation, but it was a brief respite. Within minutes they were united in frustration again as Isma sent an aimless ball forward to no-one in particular.

Despite their struggles in attack, Hearts appeared to be defending their lead relatively comfortably until they failed to deal with a floated free-kick into the box with five minutes left.

The hosts claimed a handball as it dropped, but the arch-poacher Doolan reacted quickest, turning to fire right-footed into the corner.

Hearts launched a late rally in search of a winner, without ever suggesting they would find it.

Having played nine of their first 13 Premiership games away from home, and the other four at neighbouring Murrayfield, Levein was hoping a return to familiar surroundings would provide an uplift in fortunes.

But there was precious little comfort in a hard-earned point. As one fan was heard to utter: “New stand, same old football”.

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