Virtual game ends all square
Neil McCann's 'tenure' got off to a tremendous start when Miles Storey made amends for his penalty miss in midweek. He opened the scoring after muscling Michael Smith off the ball to drive it behind Gordon after ten minutes. Hearts were on the slow burner but got back on level terms after half an hour when the defence parted to allow Liam Boyce space and time to knock the ball into the net from six yards. The second half was relatively quiet until a late surge from Hearts saw Boyce hit the bar then Ridgers make a good stop from Walker.
Neil McCann's first team selection was a 4-4-2ish which saw Nikolay Todorov, Daniel Mackay and Scott Allardice drop to the bench with Miles Storey, Sean Welsh and James Keatings on from the start in the virtual ticket derby.
Robbie Neilson has a wealth of talent with the likes of Jamie Walker, Peter Haring and Christophe Berra on the bench. Recent signing Gary Mackay-Steven, Gary Naismith and Liam Boyce, who loves to score against us, in the starting XI. That's the same line-up that drew against Morton last week.
Some fans made great sacrifices to ' virtually get to the game'. None moreso than our own Gringo and here's his tale:
"Even though I was watching on the box it was as if I was there. During the day I'd been building up to the game by posting updates on Facebook of my virtual trip up from Coventry 0 on the motorcycle. I left home at 0800 and got to the stadium around 1720. One or two thought I was actually travelling and they pointed out that I shouldn't be travelling from England to Scotland due to it being non essential travel and dear Nicola said it's against the law"
Anyway. I though we played well and deserved the point. The ref was whistle happy and stopped the flow of the game. Craig Gordon needs to grow a pair after his spat with Carson. And there really should have been an early red for whatshisface of Hearts.
The game kicked off in front of a virtual crowd of over 11,000 and Mark Ridgers was the first keeper to pull a shot out of the air in the second minute from McEneff. The same player had another shot charged down in the fourth minute as Hearts pushed forward.
Miles Storey had the first meaningful attempt for Inverness, his shot from distance saved comfortably by Craig Gordon after five minutes although the visitors were in control of possession in the early stages.
The Caley Jags opened the scoring when Keatings chipped a great ball forward from the half way line for Storey to chase. He had enough pace and power to force the error from Michael Smith and Storey anticipated well to knock the ball into the middle of the empty net.
Gervane Kastaneer was booked for a clumsy tackle on Sean Welsh who thankfully recovered after some treatment as we all held our breath.
Inverness were denied what looked like a penalty when David Carson was sent to the turf unceremoniously after Propescu turned his back on him but Referee Nick Walsh didn't want to know. (sounds familiar). A couple of minutes later Shane Sutherland appeared to delay his shot allowing it to be blocked inside the six yard box, another hand looked to have been involved, again nothing given. Could easily have been number two.
The goodwill from Tynecastle seemed to have gone completely with Storey next to be fouled heavily. From the resultant free kick another scramble in the box saw Carson go down again as the defence hoofed the ball away to safety.
Duffy took a booking for halting Mackay-Stevens progress and from the free kick did well to head clear for a corner. The corner flashed across the box dangerously but nobody in maroon was on hand to attack the ball; goal kick.
The free kicks were mounting for both sides as retribution seemed to be the order of the night. From one such free kick, Liam Boyce was left unmarked to drive the knockdown into the net from close range. Scorer Boyce knocked a header at the back post wide as Hearts upped the pace, the visitors more prominent for the last fifteen minutes.
Heats looked the most likely to add to their tally as the interval drew closer but neither keeper was overworked and it was all square at the break with the visitors having slowly clawed their way back into contention.
Half Time 1-1
Armand Gnanduillet was on from the start of the second half but it was Inverness that almost scored when Robbie Deas was just inches away from connecting properly with a back post header, but it went wide.
Gnanduillet was looking like he was going to be a handful as he tried to latch onto a couple of balls around the box.
Walsh, the clown referee, then booked David Carson for challenging Gordon who also picked up a card for his reaction.
Sub Jamie Walker made a good run down the right after Smith set him free but the defence cleared at the expense of a corner. Walker was involved with a few attacking moves since his introduction as Hearts looked for a second goal with twenty minutes left.
A bit of checkmate ensued as we entered the last fifteen minutes and Scott Allardice lashed an ambitious effort well over the bar. In truth most of the second half has been untidy as free kicks and tiredness took over.
An odd moment from a ball into the Inverness box when Boyce headed onto the top of the bar with Ridgers spectating. He was still spectating when the ball bounced down at his feet and back up again before grabbing it as he faced his own net.
Some late Hearts pressure put the home defence under pressure and a ball by the awkward Gnanduillet fizzed across the box but beat everyone and went out for a goal kick.
Ridgers made a great block from Walker and his palmed clearance was met by Mackay-Stevens who headed wide under pressure. That was the last action of the game and a hard earned point for Neil McCann in his first game in the dugout.
Full Time 1-1
Danny Devine was pleased enough with the point against a top side as he spoke on BBC Sport. Craig Gordon said Hearts were looking for three points but will settle for one.
After an entertaining first half, the second was a bit of an anti-climax. Lot's of misplaced passes but plenty of effort.
Neil McCann couldn't praise his side enough and thought we were deserving of our point.
From BBC Sport
Inverness CT interim manager Neil McCann: "I'm proud, I must admit. I'm delighted with the boys. We've only had one-and-a-half sessions. They gave me everything. "They were brilliant and limited Hearts to very little. We'd like to polish up our football, but I can't have any complaints."
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson: "We're disappointed, that's three draws on the bounce. People have got to realise it's very difficult to play in the Championship. You have to earn the right to play. "To be sitting 12 points clear is a fantastic achievement for the players. We have no given right to turn up and win football matches. We've got to take the positives from that."
He wears a 'Magic Hat'
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