Jambos and Caley share spoils

Caley Thistle, unbeaten away from home since November 2009, went in

front on their final road trip of the year through Grant Munro’s

17th-minute header. Kevin Kyle equalised from the penalty spot

after 25 minutes, but the hosts missed the chance to move level

with Celtic in the table as Caley Thistle’s determined rearguard

frustrated Hearts, extending the visitors’ run to six games without

defeat. With Celtic’s match at Hamilton postponed, manager Jim

Jefferies knew victory would take his Hearts side level in second

place in the table, although the Bhoys now have two games in hand.

Ian Black and Eggert Jonsson recovered from illness to allow

Jefferies to revert to the XI which began last week’s 5-0 defeat of

Aberdeen. Hearts defeated Motherwell 2-1 on Tuesday night, taking

their run to 15 goals scored and one conceded in securing six wins

from six and eight out of nine. The hosts had the better of the

opening period and Stuart Duff received a yellow card for a cynical

challenge on David Templeton, who was racing down the left with

team-mates queuing up in the centre. Caley Thistle half-cleared the

resulting free-kick with Black, who signed for Hearts from

Inverness in June 2009, firing over with a left-foot shot from the

edge of the area. The visitors went in front after Russell Duncan’s

inswinging free-kick from the left found Munro at the far post. The

defender’s header towards goal created havoc in the Hearts defence

– a rearguard temporarily without Ismael Bouzid – and evaded

everyone to bounce beyond the line. Bouzid was holding his back and

was replaced two minutes later, with Ryan Stevenson coming into

midfield and Adrian Mrowiec switching to centre back. Templeton was

booked for a dive after going down under the challenge of Duff in

the penalty area but then Hearts were awarded a spot-kick when

Stephen Elliott was brought down by goalkeeper Ryan Esson as he

attempted to latch on to Kyle’s knock down. Esson was booked by

referee Brian Winter for the challenge before Kyle sent him the

wrong way with a successful spot-kick. Hearts went close twice

before the interval, with Templeton firing a stunning 25-yard

strike against the post before Esson saved Stevenson’s left-foot

shot from the edge of the area. The hosts continued to dominate

possession and territory after the break, but Caley Thistle looked

dangerous on the break. Templeton shot wide across goal after 50

minutes after streaking down the left before Adam Rooney had an

effort ruled out for offside after 52 minutes. Kyle then brought a

long ball down and turned towards goal but could not get a shot

away under Ross Tokely’s challenge and Inverness cleared. Jonsson’s

cross was then directed towards goal by Kyle, but Esson gathered at

the second attempt. Templeton tried his luck from long range again,

the ball swerving narrowly wide. Skacel, who had been a peripheral

figure, then shot a yard wide across goal after ghosting into the

penalty area unchallenged. Skacel was played in down the left by

Stevenson nine minutes from time but the Czech midfielder’s ball

across goal flashed in front of Kyle and Elliott and Caley Thistle

survived again. Duncan shot over for the visitors before Elliott

was replaced by Calum Elliot with seven minutes remaining. Kyle

blasted over before Inverness scrambled clear a series of Hearts

corners. Duncan broke in stoppage time and forced a save out of

Marion Kello, but the match ended level.