Partick Thistle struck early to add to our gloom through Brian Graham, it may yet go down as an own goal, but as it stands, it's credited to the big striker. Billy Mckay squared the game after twenty minutes with an excellent close range finish from a Carson cross. Graham scored his second with a header soon after, Scott Tiffoney once again the provider and he almost scored one for himself but for a fine save from Ridgers. Shane Sutherland equalised just on the interval with a header from a McAlear corner. With twenty minutes left Deas conceded a stonewall penalty and Graham notched his hat-trick. Substitute Cammy Harper drove into the box but Sneddon blocked his shot and moments later Pearson appeared to hit the bar with an angled drive from twelve yards and Mckay rolled one just past the post. We got the draw with the last head of the ball deep into stoppage time when Broadfoot headed in a cross from McAlear.
With Inverness struggling so badly over the last two winless months, not much was expected from the hosts on a wet and windy night after a day of snow flurries and wind. Partick, on the other hand, have been resting since they beat Ayr United 1-0 on Tuesday 1st February and were lurking in fifth position ahead of this encounter, a win could bump them up to third and they will still have games in hand over everyone including three over us. With an Ayrshire derby in Kilmarnock tonight, that made it more crucial that we got back to winning ways before we hit the skids and slide out of the promotion race.
Under fire Billy Dodds would be without the influential Scott Allardice (rest of season), central defender Danny Devine (month at least), Aaron Doran, Roddy MacGregor and Tom Walsh. Billy Mckay returned last week but like the rest of the side, he looked off the pace. Our bench was sparse with basically no threat on it and youth players and empty spaces. Wee Jobbie McCall had Brian Graham up front as a target man. Well he's always a target of our boo boys anyway. Zac Rudden left in the January sales so that's one threat less. Kevin Holt replaced former County defender Richard Foster.
Inverness set the ball rolling kicking towards the South Stand, guess we lost the toss then.
The stands were as sparsely populated as our bench as both sides set about feeling their way into the game on a bitter night in the Highland capital.
Partick settled better and surprise surprise, Brian Graham tapped in from one yard as our static defence were prized open by Tiffoney down the left, easily bypassing David Carson to set up the opener after eight minutes.
Kevin Holt fired narrowly over from twenty yards as Partick looked to add a second whilst Inverness struggled to get forward.
However, David Carson turned a great ball into the box after a lay off from Sam Pearson and who else but Billy Mckay pounced from six yards to level the game as the snow was about to descend on the stadium.
Tiffoney was the man causing the problems and once again he skinned Carson down the left and Graham headed his deep cross in at the back post from close range. Tiffoney almost added a third but for a great save by Mark Ridgers in the top corner from his curling twenty yard effort.
Unlike their hosts, Partick looked dangerous every time they went forward and Holt ruffled the top of the net with a twenty yard shot watched closely by Ridgers.
We forced a couple of corners before the break and from the second one Shane Sutherland scored at the back post, with only seconds to go before the interval, Reece McAlear the provider of the deep corner kick.
Half Time: 2-2
No changes at the interval but six minutes in Dodds pulled Samuels and Logan Chalmers entered the fray.
Sutherland almost muscled onto a ball into the box but it was knocked away for a corner. Good spell for Inverness and Sam Pearson and Sutherland were not far away from creating something, but a reminder from Partick as Cammy Smith fired just over after a corner.
It's been an open encounter and it's looking likely that there's more goals in this one.
Pearson did well again to win another corner but Partick eventually cleared their lines as Inverness showed more urgency than they did at the weekend.
A rash tackle by Robbie Deas offered Partick the opportunity to go ahead for the third time and Graham completed his hat-trick from the spot smashing the ball straight down the middle.
Deas was promptly subbed and his replacement Cammy Harper saw a low effort blocked by Sneddon after the defence parted to allow Cammy to get a shot away as he raced into the left side of the box. Pearson then looked to have hit the corner of the bar moments later and Mckay prodded one just wide of the post with fifteen minutes left and at the other end Tiffoney rifled one just wide.
Sneddon produced another good save from a low twenty yard free kick by Chalmers as Inverness chased the game and MacAlear drilled one wide as we pushed for a leveller.
The equaliser came after a wee flurry at the end saw Kirk Broadfoot head a McAlear cross into the net after a corner had been cleared and we got out of jail. Phew, that was close.
Don't get me wrong, the result was thoroughly disappointing but the effort was there and with a bit of fortune we could easily have taken all three points, but when you are down on your luck, thems the breaks. An opportunity missed with Arbroath drawing thanks to an injury time penalty and Killie losing to Ayr United who are our next opponents, but a hugely better performance after the dross of the Morton game. All is not lost yet.
MotM for me was Sam Pearson with some great forward runs and unlucky with his angled shot that rattled the top corner of the bar, and with Billy Mckay buzzing around to good effect and Shane Sutherland putting in the effort it was a massive improvement on recent achievements. Much easier to pick out the good performances this week in a highly entertaining match played out on a miserable night of winter weather. On the downside, Robbie Deas needs to ask himself why he made that poor challenge and that's now eight games without a win; Foranesque territory...