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
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
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.