Jim Jefferies watched his side produce a much-improved second-half performance as Hearts earned a point with a 1-1 draw at Inverness, strengthening their grip on third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
Aaron Doran's first-half opener had Inverness deservedly in front, but Stephen Elliott's equaliser ensured the Jambos emerged with a draw against the Highland Capital side, who finished the game with 10-men after Ross Tokely was shown a second yellow card in the latter stages. Hearts are now nine points clear of Dundee United, albeit they have played a game more.
Tynecastle boss Jefferies said: "They started the game better than us. We were all over the place and second to every ball. I took us about half an hour to waken up, although the final 15 minutes of the first half were better. We were good in the second half, but the game could have finished 3-3."
He added: "They have had a claim for the ball crossing the line for a goal not being given, as had we, but we also had one or two other chances to win it."
Caley Thistle will finish the season in the bottom half of the SPL, but boss Terry Butcher maintains the remaining fixtures are not meaningless to his team as they look to secure seventh place.
He said: "It didn't mean little to us. We wanted to go out and win the game and showed a great desire to do that.
"We got ourselves into the lead and probably should have scored more goals as we carved them open a few times, particularly in the first half.
"I was disappointed to be only a goal up at the interval because I knew Jim (Jefferies) would give his players a roasting at half-time and he duly did.
"With the goal I think there was a whistle blown just before a throw-in and we stopped a little bit. Because of that it allowed Hearts to get into a good position, from which they scored.
"At 1-1, their tails were up and we had to defend well, but we also had opportunities even when we went down to 10 men. The players certainly couldn't have given me anymore."