THISTLE boss Ian McCall headed to Dumfries on Saturday hoping to enjoy some home comforts - but left feeling like he'd been mugged after his troops fell victim to a late smash n' grab.
The Jags looked to be on easy street when Iain Flannigan made it 3-1 with just seven minutes left to play in his gaffer's home town.
But the dogged Doonhamers hit back with a late double to leave Thistle reeling.
The day hadn't began too well for McCall's troops as the sickness bug which had swept Firhill in the week leading up to the game deprived them of goalkeeper Scott Fox - who had been named the division's best player for January only a day earlier.
With second choice shotstopper Bryn Halliwell beginning a loan deal at Clyde and third choice Ryan Scully nursing a broken arm, McCall was forced into plunging kid gloves Graeme Shephard in from the start.
And it looked as if the teenager was sure to be celebrating his senior debut with a victory until his side's late collapse.
Thistle assistant boss Ian Maxwell admitted: "It feels like a defeat. But all credit to Queens for keeping on going.
"Being 3-1 up so late on we should have been able to hold out so it is very disappointing. To score three goals away from home is some achievement so we should have won the game."
Thistle had always looked in total control after Martin Grehan pounced on Stephen McKenna's mistimed header to lob the ball over the stranded David Hutton after 33 minutes.
The Jags scored a second eight minutes later when Grehan flicked the ball into the path of Kris Doolan and the striker fired a sweetly-struck left-foot shot past Hutton for his ninth goal of the season.
But Queens pulled one back just before half-time when Willie McLaren played a one-two with Holmes before drilling a powerful shot into the net.
The goal lifted the home side but they struggled for long spells in the second half to threaten the Thistle rearguard.
Their best chance came when Holmes headed the ball off the inside of the post and sub David Weatherston saw his close-range shot deflected over the bar by Willie Kinniburgh.
And it looked curtains for Queens when Thistle sub Paul Paton's pass picked out Flannigan seven minutes from time and the midfielder showed some great control before slipping the ball past Hutton.
But McLaren got his side back in it for the second time when he took a lay off from Holmes and smashed a left-foot shot high into the net with just three minutes left on the clock.
That set the jitters about the Jags and their nerves were shredded in the final minute when the defence failed to clear their lines. Shepherd could only parry Holmes' shot and up popped Johnston to ram the loose ball home.