PARTICK THISTLE and Morton both exited the Betfred Cup after neither side were able to break the deadlock in a cagey and drab affair at Firhill.

The two teams went into yesterday’s game knowing that a win would hand them a slender shot at qualification but in the end, neither were able to seize their chance as the game finished goalless, with the Jags winning the resulting shoot-out.

“That’s technically three home wins out of four and the other game we drew after conceding a late goal,” said Thistle boss Ian McCall.

“I was really happy today, we moved the ball around well in the first half and were the better team but they put us under pressure for half an hour in the second half. They play a certain way but I'm not a manager to have any problems with that.

“I was really proud of their efforts, they stood up to everything and our goalkeeper made a couple of good saves.”

Thistle started the game without a recognised centre-forward on the pitch after Brian Graham (suspended), Zak Rudden and Salim Kouider-Aissa (both injured) were ruled out of contention, with winger Connor Murray tasked with leading the line.

A Marcus Fjortoft header within the opening couple of minutes served as an early warning from Morton, with the big defender glancing a looping header just wide of the far post.

Ross MacIver really should have opened the scoring as Morton continued to turn the screw; the ball fell fortuitously for the forward, who contrived to nod the ball wide from close range when it looked easier to score.

The injury-ravaged hosts, meanwhile – ten players were missing for McCall – looked a yard off the pace during the game’s opening exchanges but soon managed to match their opponents across the park.

A rasping long-range drive from on-loan Rangers defender Rhys Breen whistled past the post as Thistle started to ask questions of their opponents.

The game remained cagey and attritional, with little to split the two evenly-matched sides. Morton looked a threat at set-pieces and peppered the Thistle area with delivery after delivery. MacIver went closest when he tried to prod the ball home from a few yards out, only to be denied by a superb stop from Kieran Wright before the half-time whistle was sounded.

Shea Gordon flashed a header over the bar immediately after the restart as the home side came out with a renewed sense of purpose. A succession of corners were hastily cleared away by Morton as the Jags pressed for an opener.

Joe Cardle miraculously avoided a red card after the Thistle winger appeared to swing at Lewis Strapp as the two players vigorously contested a loose ball, with the 33-year-old’s efforts instead rewarded with a yellow.

Jacobs spurned a glorious opportunity with the game approaching full-time, with the midfielder unable to direct the ball home after a drilled cross found him unmarked near the penalty spot with the clock winding down.

Strapp stinged the palms of Wright with a powerful shot from 35 yards and a terrific save from the Thistle goalie kept out MacIver’s snap-shot from close range as the visitors turned the screw but in the end, it wasn’t enough as James Penrice struck the decisive spot-kick in a 4-2 win on penalties for the Jags.

“We won six headers from corners in the first half but couldn’t convert any of them,” rued Morton boss David Hopkin.

“So it’s difficult to take but we’ve come through a tough week and we’ll now regroup and get ready for our next league match away at Arbroath.

“I feel we should have finished top of the group given the way we played against St Mirren and Partick, so that’s disappointing.”