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Rugby Park firsts This first-ever win against Kilmarnock pushed ICT up to a new high of seventh in the SPL. After the disappointment of last week against Aberdeen this was a victory to relish. With Juanjo out injured for the rest of the season some reorganisation was required. Ian Black replaced Russell Duncan in midfield and Graham Bayne partnered Craig Brewster in the striking role. Ross Tokely overtook Charlie Christie's record with his 315th appearance. In the end just one goal separated the sides but chances were missed at both ends. Alan Combe tipped over a Brewster shot in only two minutes and seven minutes later Mark Brown pushed a Peter Leven curling free kick onto the bar. In 13 minutes Combe stopped a Stuart Golabek shot and watched as Graham Bayne's follow-up hit the post. Just after the half-hour mark ICT scored what proved to be the only goal of the match. Freddy Dindeleux hesitated, Brewster stepped in and found Barry Wilson in the clear. He rounded Combe and slotted home his tenth goal of the season from an acute angle. Kilmarnock fought back immediately but Brown saved from Gary Wales and Steven Naismith's angled drive from long range went just wide. Killie pushed hard through to the break but could not find a way through the ICT defence. Half Time: 0-1 The pattern continued into the second half and Brown did well to block a Gary McDonald effort in 50 minutes. Wales should have done better in 57 minutes when he failed to connect properly with a Naismith cross despite being well placed close to goal. Bayne had a chance to double the lead in 78 minutes after being sent through by Brewster but his shot had no power and Combe collected easily. Despite a late surge from Kilmarnock the ICT defence held firm and it ended 1-0. Full Time: 0-1 Caley Thistle continue to look upwards in the league with seven games left as the spectre of relegation continues to recede. There is now a 14 point gap over basement club Dundee United and an outside chance of a top six finish. Motherwell are six points ahead with two games left before the split and have a six-goal advantage. All this adds some spice to Tuesday's visit of the Steelmen to Inverness. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Kilmarnock: 0 Team: Combe; Fowler, Hay, Lilley, Dindeleux, McDonald, Murray, Leven, Naismith (Johnston 65), Boyd, Wales (Nish 62) Subs not used: Smith, Dodds, Greer, Johnstone McGregor - Booked: Lilley Inverness CT: 1 (Wilson 32) Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson (Duncan 79), Hart (Fetai 75), Black (Proctor), McBain, Bayne, Brewster Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Hastings, Prunty - Booked: Brewster (60), Black (70) Attendance: 4862 - Referee: Ian Fyfe
Caley Thistle made it 5 wins out of 5 with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle. An excellent strike from Russell Duncan gave ICT a half time lead and a Rankin penalty extended it early in the second. Hearts fought back through Berra on the hour mark, and seemed to have secured a point with a 90th minute penalty strike. Graham Bayne however scored deep in injury time to win it for ICT. 22/12/07 Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN 2 (Berra 62, Velicka 90pen) Kurskis, Neilson, Zaliukas, Berra, Wallace, Ivaskevicius (Mikoliunas 65), Jonsson, Palazuelos, Driver, Ksanavicius (Elliot 34 (Pospisil 65)), Velicka Subs: McGowan, Cesnauskis, Goncalves, Basso INVERNESS CT 3 (Duncan 22, Rankin 53pen, Bayne 90 ) Team: Fraser, Tokely, McGuire, Munro, Hastings, Cowie, Black (Wilson 81), Duncan, Rankin, McBain (Bayne 70), Niculae Subs: McAllister, Gillespie, Kerr, McCaffrey, Malkowski Referee William Collum Attendance 16202 Craig Brewster stuck with the same formation that has done him so well over the last four games, but due to David Proctor's red card las week, he was forced to make one change to the side with Ross Tokely returning from suspension to take his place. For Hearts, the surprise was probably that they kept faith in Eduardas Kurskis in goal and after gifting a late winner to Rangers last week, he was to have a late impact on this game too. Caley Thistle had the first attempts on goal in this skirmish with a couple of Ian Black efforts that had Kurskis looking a little less than confident and in 6 minutes, Hearts Velicka tested Fraser who couldn't hold his shot, but had McGuire on hand to clear. A couple of minutes later and it was Marius Niculae having a chance at the other end courtesy of a Rankin pass. Just as Marius was about to unleash his shot, Berra nipped in and cleared. Back to the other end now - in the 11th minute - this time with Lee Wallace tearing down the left. He then cut the ball across but Ivaskevicius was denied by an excellent Fraser block. The ball quickly broke back to the midfielder, whose second effort was deflected wide. Less than a minute later Ksanavicius hit the crossbar with a great 22-yard shot. A goal was coming, and with play ranging from end to end it really could have come from either side ... luckily for us, it was Caley Thistle who opened the scoring through Russell Duncan in 21 minutes and what a well worked goal it was. Ian Black started the move by finding John Rankin in space on the left, Rankin then managed to play a crossfield ball to Don Cowie who was on the edge of the box with his back to goal. He took a touch then played it short for Russell Duncan who blasted it low into the corner of the net. Hearts were dealt a blow just after the half-hour mark, with Ksanavicius limping off after a challenge from Ross Tokely. He was replaced by Calum Elliot. Hearts did have one more decent chance before half-time but Driver could only play the ball directly at Fraser after receiving a Velicka cross. Half Time: Hearts 0-1 ICT Into the second half then and five minutes in, it was Hearts who had the first real attack when Velicka had a chance from the edge of the box but it was pushed away by Fraser and the danger was gone. A minute later Hearts would be left rueing this chance as Caley Thistle went upfield and scored ! Russell Duncan broke up a Hearts attack deep in his own half, ran down the wing and waited until just the right moment before playing a perfectly weighted pass to Niculae that left the last defender helpless. Niculae bore down on goal and Kurskis was left with no option but to bring him down. A penalty was awarded, and perhaps surprisingly, the colour of the card issued to Kurskis was only yellow. John Rankin took the penalty, and although the keeper went the right way, the ball had been placed perfectly and he couldnt get a touch to it. 0-2. It was do or die for Hearts now and in the 60th minute, Mike Fraser, who had an excellent match once again, tipped a dipping Palazuelos shot over for a corner. From the corner however, Hearts equalised through Berra who powerfully headed it down and into the net, although, with so many bodies in the box and on the line, the last touch could have come from anyone. After this lifeline, Stevie Frail committed his last two subs in an effort to get something from this game and this was to prove decisive in the end. For the next 20-25 minutes Caley Thistle and Hearts traded attempts at goal, with both Niculae and Mikoliunas coming close but it was to be the final five minutes that would provide a lot of talking points. 5 minutes from the end, Russell Duncan chased down a ball that Kurskis was attempting to shield out for a goal kick and as the keeper picked it up after it had crossed the line, the two players briefly tangled. Kurskis however raised his hands to Duncan and when all was said and done, both players received yellow cards. Unfortunately for Hearts, Kurskis had been booked earlier when conceding the penalty and his yellow was quickly followed by a red card. Worse still for Hearts was that they had used all three subs so could not take off an outfield player and use their sub keeper so Lee Wallace was the player who was given the Keeper's top for the last five minutes. Despite the drama, Hearts went up the park and scored a last gasp equaliser... In what looked like a very soft award, McGuire was adjudged to have fouled Velicka in the box, was booked for it, and then Velicka himself sent Fraser the wrong way from the penalty spot. 2-2 and literally seconds to go. But it was not over yet!!! This time it was Caley Thistle's turn to go up the park and score. McGuire started the move on the half way line with a pass to Bayne, Bayne then passed wide to Cowie and he sent the ball into the box. A Hearts defender (Zaliukas) carelessly backheeled it into the path of Bayne and he sent it low into the net past a helpless Wallace from 15 yards. Final Score: Hearts 2-3 ICT and 15 points out of 15 for Craig Brewster !!