Caley rally to hold Hearts

Eighteen-year-old Conor Pepper rescued a draw for the

Highlanders after they had appeared dead and buried at the break –

two goals down and a man down following a tempestuous first


Arvydas Novikovas had given the hosts the lead on 15 minutes,

curling past Ryan Esson, before John Sutton doubled Hearts’ lead

after a debatable penalty award.

Richie Foran was shown a red card on the stroke of half-time,

prompting the fury of Terry Butcher, but Caley were handed a

lifeline with a penalty of their own, Andrew Shinnie netting.

Pepper then sparked wild celebrations among the visitors deep into

injury time.

Novikovas was drafted in to replace David Templeton, serving the

first of a two-match back for kicking Hibs captain James


Danny Grainger returned to the starting eleven, with young Kevin

McHattie dropping to the bench, while Mehdi Taouil was charged with

infusing the hosts with creativity, coming in for Scott Robinson.

New signing Peter Enckelman had to be content with a place on the


Inverness, still unbeaten in the SPL after draws against St

Mirren and Kilmarnock in their opening league fixtures, showed just

one change from the previous week with the suspended Owain

Tudor-Jones making way for Foran.

And it was the visitors who made the more impressive start to

the encounter, threatening MacDonald’s goal twice in the first 10


First Andrew Shinnie fizzed a low drive just past the post

before his brother Graeme produced a sensational ball into the box

across the face of goal – but there were no willing takers for the

inviting delivery.

However, it would be the home side who claimed the lead after 15

minutes. A fine counter-attack saw Andy Driver power into the Caley

half before finding Darren Barr. His through-ball was perfectly

weighted into the path of Novikovas in the right channel of the

box, and the Lithuanian winger calmly slotted the ball past Ryan


The game endured something of a lull, lacking in goalmouth

action, until controversy reigned on 42 minutes.

Referee Bobby Madden decided that Simon King had fouled Sutton

as the striker attempted to get on the end of a Taouil free-kick

and Sutton stepped up himself to lash home his second goal of the

season from the spot.

Marius Zaliukas, who also clashed with Esson during the same

hectic incident, limped off to be replaced by Scott Robinson.

Madden then further infuriated Inverness on the stroke of

half-time, showing a red card to Foran – himself returning from

suspension – for a reckless challenge on Ryan McGowan.

Caley manager Butcher was moved to angrily confront the official

at the break – and the man in the middle was the centre of

attention once more in the second period.

He awarded Butcher’s side a penalty kick of their own

approaching the hour mark, following a challenge by Paterson on

Graeme Shinnie. It was sibling Andrew who did the business from the

spot, firing his effort from 12 yards into the roof of the net,

despite MacDonald getting a touch.

McGowan should have restored the Tynecastle side’s two-goal

cushion midway through the second half when he was sent scampering

through on goal by a delightful chipped Robinson pass, but dragged

his shot wide.

Jambos full-back Paterson was next to threaten, fizzing a shot

just wide, but the hosts paid for an underwhelming second-half

display with the last kick of the game.

Graeme Shinnie crept in behind the Hearts defence and lofted the

ball past MacDonald, allowing Pepper to lash home.