TEN man Thistle battled back to secure a draw through a fantastic header from Craig Forbes in a hard fought contest to open the football season at Barrfields.

It made it all the more important for Thistle to gain the point given that they were without influential central defenders Connor McGoldrick and the suspended Ryan McCreath.

And to make their defensive troubles worse, centre half Cory Hughes saw red during the match.

Early in the match, Glens won a free kick from a dangerous position after Faulds was adjudged to have fouled Hugh Kerr, but the set-piece effort from 22 yards floated over the Largs crossbar.

On 11 minutes, Thistle nearly took the lead after an driving run from Alan Frizzell down the right wing. His low drilled cross to the near post found Scott Lewis who failed to make a clean connection but managed to loft the ball goalwards and Glens' keeper Connor Cullen had to work hard to flip the it way from danger. A Simon McBryde's rebound follow-up was blocked and cleared.

Six minutes later, Frizzell's turn of pace caught the Glens defence off guard and he evaded a challenge before sending in a 20 yard piledriver which had to be beaten away by Cullen at the left post.

Next a dangerous cross come shot from Glenafton had to be palmed over the bar by the watchful Jamie McGowan in the Largs goal, while Oliver Rowe had a free header at the back post which floated wide as the visitors began upping the pressure.

On 34 minutes, Glens took the lead from a set piece. Paul Paton's free kick from 30 yards out on the right was re-directed back across goal for McMullin to nod home at the right post.

Largs almost equalised within 60 seconds as Lewis's point blank effort brought a top class save from Cullen, who managed to flip the ball over the bar.

Stuart Faulds, who has scored some stunning goals during pre-season, decided to have a go from the left wing near the byeline with a curling effort which just flashed past the far right post as the half drew to a close.

The second 45 was only just under way when Hughes was shown red for his second caution of the game and Largs had to then battle on with ten men.

Glenafton came close to doubling their lead as a flying header from a corner caught the outside of the right post on 53 minutes, while Frizzell turned and volleyed over the bar at the other end.

George Sewell sent a firm header narrowly over from a Faulds corner kick as Largs looked to find a way back into the game.

Glens had a great chance to make it two as Hugh Kerr raced in and sent a header over the bar and moments later at the other end Kerr was there to clear from a Faulds corner kick which was floated dangerously to the far post.

McBryde then turned his man on the left wing and sent a dangerous cross into the box but there were no takers.

On 74 minutes, persistent fouling on McBryde on the other wing as he attempted to enter the box saw the award of a free kick. Faulds delivered a probing ball into the box and Forbes met it with a powerful header which sailed into the top left corner of the net.

Glenafton were denied a winner after rampaging up the park as Murphy's powerful effort clattered back off the crossbar and then McGowan made a superb stretching save to deny James Martin who had the goal at his mercy from the rebound.

There were calls for a penalty after a deep cross from the left found Forbes who tried to break away from his defender at the far post, and then in the final minutes Forbes went close again with a diving effort as ten man Thistle finished on top.

Fitness was to the fore again for Stuart Davidson's side who showed, even when far from their best, that they are able to cope with a one man disadvantage.

Before kick off, a minute's silence was impeccably observed in memory of Thistle's 1994 Scottish Cup winning assistant manager Ossie Findlay.

THISTLE: McGowan, McLeod, McMaster, Sewell, Hughes, Faulds, McGrath, McBryde, Frizzell, Lewis, Forbes. Subs: Haggerty, Coogans, Davidson, Trialist, Trialist, Walker (GK).