Aberdeen’s fight for second spot is faltering and they cannot let their Scottish Cup bid go the same way.
Dropping points to a Partick side scrapping relegation was poor preparation for a quarter-final replay against in-form Kilmarnock.
The replay at Rugby Park tomorrow is a season-defining clash – and could be season-saving as well.
Now four games without a win, the Reds have suffered a slump at the worst possible time as the season enters the business end.
In recent weeks they have lost valuable ground to second placed Rangers, and Hibs are now breathing down their necks.
With one goal in four games the lack of cutting edge and incisiveness have been damaging and reared its head again at a struggling Partick side that had lost four straight games.
Too many of the Reds’ creative players and ball carriers who can produce a creative spark to turn a game failed to hit the heights. They tried but that inspiration eluded them.
Defensively, however, the Reds were granite rock solid – which will be vital against a Killie side dangerous in attack.
The bottom line is Aberdeen need to improve on their Firhill performance and do it quickly.
Aberdeen made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Killie last weekend.
Andy Considine returned from suspension with Dominic Ball also drafted in.
Considine slotted into his usual left-back slot allowing Graeme Shinnie to return to his defensive midfield role in the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
The Reds’ leading goalscorer Adam Rooney and Kari Arnason both dropped to the bench.
Arnason had been culpable, along with Shay Logan, for Killie’s controversial equalising penalty last week.
Right-back Logan retained his slot.
Aberdeen created the first opportunity in the seventh minute when Ball shot from range but his effort skidded wide of Tomas Cerny’s goal.
A misjudged punch by keeper Cerny from an inswinging Niall McGinn cross on the quarter-hour mark caused trouble for the Jags.
Lurking unmarked at the right edge of the penalty area, Kenny McLean collected possession and attempted to curl an effort beyond Cerny from an acute angle.
It flashed across the face of goal and wide.
Partick’s Conor Sammon broke in on goal only to be dispossessed by a superb tackle by Scott McKenna.
Partick had a strong call for a penalty when Chris Erskine was impeded by Ryan Christie as he raced on to a Sammon header just outside the penalty area.
Erskine went down but it seemed to be a coming together of both players’ momentum.
Referee Greg Aitken waved play on but the home supporters were raging.
If Aitken had given a foul, as last man, Christie would have walked.
An impressive save from Cerny denied the Reds in the 33rd minute when McLean drove upfield before finding Christie on the right flank.
The on-loan Celt drilled a low cross into the penalty area towards the onrushing Shinnie who shot low from 10 yards.
Keeper Cerny got down quickly to palm away the shot but Shinnie should have buried the opportunity.
It was a rare opportunity as the Reds lacked penetration in attack in the opening 45 minutes.
Partick threatened to break the deadlock in the 47th minute as keeper Freddie Woodman was forced to push a powerful drive from Steven Lawless wide at his near post
The resultant corner found Erskine and his looping 15-yard header eluded Woodman but May was on hand to head off the line.
As the weather deteriorated further, so too did the quality from both sides.
Moments later Shinnie blasted a shot over from 10 yards.
Aberdeen were making little inroads in attack and to freshen it up Rooney came on for May with more than half an hour remaining.
The Reds earned a free kick in dangerous territory when McGinn was brought down at the edge of the box in the 74th minute.
However, McLean shot over the defensive wall – and over the bar.
Deep into injury-time Partick raced upfield on the counter-attack and keeper Woodman blocked a powerful shot from Edwards at his near post.
Next up are Killie tomorrow where the season hinges on the winless run ending.
ABERDEEN: Woodman, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, O’Connor, McLean, McGinn, Ball, McKenna, Christie, May.
Subs: Rooney (for May 57), Mackay-Steven (for Ball 68), Stewart (for McGinn 82).
Subs not used: Rogers, Arnason, Wright, Nwakali.
PARTICK THISTLE: Cerny, Booth, Cargill, Erskine, Lawless, Elliott, Devine, Sammon, McCarthy, Woods, Storey.
Subs: Edwards (for Erskine 57), Spittal (for Lawless 69).
Subs not used: Scully, Doolan, Barton, McGinn, Fraser.