ATHLETIC assistant manager Dave Mackay said he had "loads of pride in the players" despite their Scottish Cup exit on Saturday.

After a gripping 120 minutes at Firhill, with the teams tied at 1-1, a penalty shoot-out saw the Championship side progress to the fifth round at the expense of the League One leaders.

Kyle Benedictus, who missed Dunfermline's first effort in the shoot-out, had given his team a first half lead (pictured below) from the penalty spot after Rhys Breen had been fouled by Lee Hodson.

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Aidan Fitzpatrick's equaliser early in the second half took the game to extra time but, after the additional half hour failed to produce a winner, it was decided from 12 yards.

Matty Todd also saw an effort saved by Partick keeper, Jamie Sneddon, as successful attempts from Kyle MacDonald and Lewis McCann proved in vain.

Anton Dowds scored the Jags' fourth penalty from four to put them through but, despite the disappointment of the result, Mackay was upbeat post-match.

"When you go to penalties, it can go either way," he said.

"We're disappointed for the players but the overall performance, I thought throughout the 120 minutes, was outstanding.

"In terms of some of the play, fitness levels, attitude, application, we can't ask for much more. On another day, it goes for you.

"Disappointment obviously to go out, but loads of pride in the players.

"We definitely had the better, clear-cut chances. Sneddon, to be fair to him, has a great save to be fair to him from Craig Wighton in the second half, and then Chris Hamilton has a really good chance at the back post.

"In terms of better chances, and more chances, I thought we definitely shaded that. It's just disappointing not to turn one of them into another goal but, again, we can't fault the players too much."

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The Pars missed chances to take a first half lead through Kyle MacDonald, who headed over the bar unmarked at the far post, and Wighton, who was denied by Sneddon after connecting with Todd's cushioned ball first time.

Wighton also came close in the second half, while Chris Hamilton spooned an effort over at the far post in extra time when it seemed like he'd hit the net.

When asked if he felt it was a missed opportunity, Mackay continued: "It does feel like that because I thought we were the better team.

"They had spells as well - they started the second half pretty well. It was a very open game at times but I felt, overall, we were the better team, played some better stuff, and had the better chances.

But, again, it's all about taking those chances, and making sure you go through in the cup competitions.

"Just disappointed as I say. We're so proud of the boys, and the effort, attitude and everything on a difficult pitch, a really difficult pitch.

"We can't ask much more and, when it goes to penalties, we've practiced them but, again, you can never replicate what you're going to face. I've hit penalties plenty of times and, it doesn't matter how many times you practice it in training, you can never replicate what you're going to face on a Saturday.

"Credit to the boys for taking them. We missed a couple, but that's way it goes in penalty shoot-outs."

Thistle manager, Ian McCall, felt that a draw was fair over the course of the 120 minutes, and had words of praise of his opponents, for whom he represented as a player over two spells.

"We're not playing a League One team. Don't let anybody fool you about that," he said.

"I've been there twice as a player, and they're a big, big club. Whilst I'm sure James (McPake) will be really disappointed, I'm sure him and the board will know their main target is to try and go up because that's not easy to do that.

"I thought the game was very even. I don't think any team deserved to win it.

"Our goalie made two or three good saves, so did theirs, but one of our goalie's saves was really good.

"They'll be disappointed. I thought a draw was a fair result to be perfectly honest, but I thought our penalties were fantastic.

"You always fancy Snedds to save, but I was very, very surprised big Kyle missed, because he's a very good penalty taker. I thought he was excellent.

"Ultimately, you're in the cup to try and get into the next round. We got to the last eight in the League Cup, and we want to try and get to the last eight of the Scottish Cup at least.

"I'm always confident with Sneddon. His kicking at the start of the game was woeful, but, at penalties, I'm always confident he'll save a penalty, and he did that. Our penalties, their goalie never had a chance at them.

"I'm particularly pleased with Kyle Turner, who was obviously getting a bit of abuse throughout the game, and it was a hard one for him to take one, but he slotted it in perfectly.

"It was a really, really good result for us. It keeps the run going."