Rob Roy came back with 10 men from a goal down to grab victory with a late winner over Largs at Guy’s Meadow on Saturday.
It was a match not short of action nor incidents as the Kirkintilloch side got their Super League Premier campaign off to a winning start.
The first real chance of a tense opening period fell to Kevin Watt but when through on goal his shot was blocked by Largs keeper Ross Lundy with the rebound going behind.
In a Thistle attack, Gary Fleming broke into the Rabs penalty box but his shot deflected off Rabs defender Scott Walker and then hit the base of the post and went out for a corner.
From Laurie McMaster’s kick Greg Little headed the ball well over the bar.
Uncertainty in the Rabs defence then conceded another corner to Largs, sent over by Matthew Bennett and headed off the line by Walker.
With five minutes of the half remaining Lundy made a great save to prevent Watt from opening the scoring for Rabs, parrying his volley to safety.
In the 45th minute Rabs edged in front when Craig Buchanan’s effort rattled the bar with Willie Sawyers first to react by sending a header into the net from the rebound.
However the first half action did not cease there. In stoppage time the ball was sent into the Rabs box where Danny MacKenzie was adjudged to have pushed Robert Love in the box and a penalty awarded to Thistle.
Michael McKinven managed to get his hand to the ball but failed to keep out James Marks’s spot kick.
The Ayrshire side took the lead four minutes after the restart when Kevin Green misjudged the bounce of the ball, allowing Love to take possession and slip the ball past McKinven.
In a spell of Thistle pressure Marks headed a McMaster corner over the bar, McKinven did well to make a diving save from a Love cross and then saved a low Bennett low drive.
On the hour mark Rabs began to dominate play. Shaun Fraser headed a Chris Duff cross wide then, following clever wing play from Duff, Sawyers hesitated with his shot and the chance was lost.
But in the 64th minute Rabs were reduced to 10 men when the red mist descended on Fraser as he retaliated after a Love tackle and was sent packing.
Referee Graham’s decisions were infuriating the Rabs bench, resulting in coach Kevin Finlayson being sent from the technical area.
But Rabs regained parity from the penalty spot in the 74th minute when Ciaran Friel bundled over Sawyers just inside the box, substitute Lee Gallacher squeezing the award past Lundy.
And in the 82nd minute Rabs pressure paid off when the unmarked Gary McMenamin rose at the back post to guide his header into the Largs net from a Gallacher corner.