Tale of two Penalties
A well-earned point but three would have been amply justified. Craig Brewster stayed with the same team that performed heroics against Rangers.
It was a strange afternoon with John Robertson and Donald Park in the away dug-out so soon after leaving Inverness but their knowledge of the ICT players did not pay-off.
The 'home' side were in the driving seat for most of the game but the strong Hearts defence yielded little. Craig Gordon held a Richie Hart looping header in the 11th minute then a 15 yard Juanjo shot on the turn was blocked. Play switched ends and there was a dangerous moment when a Robbie Neilson ball across goal was cleared by Ross Tokely with Marc De Vries stretching for it.
The big striker was the main Hearts threat all afternoon but he was well contained. It should have been 1-0 in the 15th minute when a Tokely through ball sent Juanjo clean through on Gordon. He had too much time and too many options as he tried to round the keeper but slipped and Gordon grabbed the ball gratefully.
Grant Munro then limped off to be replaced by Richard Hastings. Juanjo went down in the box in 20 minutes after a 1-2 with Graham Bayne but nothing was given. Juanjo was tormenting the Hearts defence and he was brought down by Jamie McAllister in 28 minutes. Stuart Golabek's 25 yard free kick was held by Gordon.
Tokely headed away a Paul Hartley free kick then another by Richie Hart was taken well by Gordon. The match flared up in 33 minutes when an Andy Webster barge on Graham Bayne ended with the ICT player heading forcibly for the dug-out and chaos ensued. Players clashed and, after order was restored, Webster saw red. Patrick Kisnorbo and Liam Keogh were both booked for their parts in the aftermath.
The Inverness side pushed to take advantage of the extra man but nothing came off. The closest was in 39 minutes when Hart sent a low ball in from the right and Juanjo touched it just wide. Just after the break a Tokely cross from the right was met well by Bayne but Gordon saved his header.
Half Time: 0-0
Robbie Neilson had a sight of goal in 54 minutes but Hastings popped up at the right moment to block the shot. Five minutes later Graham Weir closed in on Mark Brown but the keeper narrowed the angle and the shot trickled wide.
Weir was again through in 62 minutes and he went down after contact with Brown as he tried to find an angle to shoot. The referee hesitated but, on the advice of his assistant, a penalty was awarded. Paul Hartley netted and, against the run of play, Hearts were ahead.
It seemed rather a soft penalty but honours were evened up six minutes later when Juanjo went down at the other end and once more it was a penalty. Juanjo took it himself and scored.
ICT pushed for a winner and in 69 minutes they came close. A Bayne header was blocked and it fell for Juanjo but it came to him at a difficult height and his shot hit the bar.
In 75 minutes the Inverness defence was under pressure from a McAllister free kick but it was eventually cleared. A Tokely low ball across the Hearts goal ten minutes from the end looked good but no one could take advantage. A Tokely header was cleared for a corner in 84 minutes then, at the other end, a Pressley header was cleared off the line.
The last chance fell to substitute Barry Wilson but as he raced for the ball, Gordon came out to punch it for a corner.
Full Time: 1-1
A good point and tenth place held. ICT now have 15 points, the same as Dundee United and Livingston, with Dundee two points adrift at the foot of the table.
Inverness CT: 1 (Juanjo 68 pen)
Team: Brown; Tokely (McCaffrey 89), Dods, Munro (Hastings 16), Golabek, Hart (Wilson 72), Duncan, Keogh,
McBain, Juanjo, Bayne
Subs not used: Fraser; Proctor, Fox, Prunty - Booked: Keogh (33), Golabek (60), Brown (62)
Hearts: 1 (Hartley 62 pen)
Team: Gordon; Neilson, Pressley, Webster, Hamill (Berra 84), Wyness (Stewart 46), Hartley, Kisnorbo,
McAllister, De Vries, Pereira (Weir 46)
Subs not used: Moilanen; McKenna, Janczyk, Sloan - Booked: Kisnorbo (33), Weir (68) - Sent Off: Webster (33)
Attendance: 2011 - Referee: Calum Murray