Partick Thistle held by Ross County as relegation battle goes down to wire

The bottom two in the Ladbrokes Premiership Partick Thistle and Ross County remain deep in the relegation mire following their a 1-1 draw at the Energy Check stadium at Firhill.Jags attacker Chris Erskine volleyed in a Kris Doolan cross after 22 minutes, but against the run of play Staggies striker Billy Mckay levelled three minutes before the break for the league's basement club.However, with no more goals in the second half County remain two points adrift of Thistle with only two fixtures remaining.Fellow relegation battlers Dundee and Hamilton, both three points ahead of the Maryhill men in the relegation play-off spot, meet at Dens Park on Saturday as the battle for survival comes to the boil.Thistle started the night with conviction and striker Conor Sammon had the ball in the net within minutes, but long after referee Kevin Clancy's whistle had sounded for a foul on County captain Marcus Fraser.The Jags were more aggressive and purposeful and their lead was deserved.Dingwall defender Harry Souttar missed the flight of a long ball, leaving Doolan to race down the left and cross for the unmarked Erskine to hammer the ball past goalkeeper Scott Fox from eight yards out.The goal served to increase the tempo of the match and shake County out of their slumber.Moments later defender Liam Fontaine headed a Michael Gardyne free-kick into the hands of Jags keeper Tomas Cerny, but the home side were not long in driving forward again looking for the second.However, to their frustration, they found themselves pegged back when, after the Thistle rearguard failed to clear another Gardyne free-kick from the right, Fontaine hooked the ball back into the Thistle box and Mckay pounced to slam the ball past Cerny from close range.It was a goal which must have irked Thistle boss Alan Archibald and he sent his side out to make amends in the second half.However, County were less inclined to let them have their own way and Cerny did well to parry wide a powerful Gardyne drive before Mckay headed a Fraser cross wide.Tension increased by the minute, mostly among the home supporters in a crowd of 4,312 who saw County grow in confidence.Partick's defending became nervy and in the 74th minute Gardyne flashed a drive from the edge of the box just over the bar.In the 84th minute, as the home side rallied, County keeper Fox made a good fingertip save from a drive from substitute Miles Storey and, in a frantic finale, he blocked Danny Devine's header before referee Kevin Clancy brought an end to a gruelling battle.