Aberdeen title hopes suffer blow after defeat at Inverness
Aberdeen's title challenge suffered a blow as they slumped to a controversial 3-1 defeat to Inverness on Monday night.
With the match poised at 1-1, referee Willie Collum awarded a second-half penalty against Ash Taylor despite little apparent contact on Ross Draper, and Greg Tansey fired home to put Inverness ahead.
Collum further angered the travelling Dons fans when he initially disallowed Carl Tremarco's goal for the hosts, before reversing his decision after consulting with linesman Graham McNeillie as Inverness sealed the points.
Aberdeen had taken a seventh-minute lead through Adam Rooney before Iain Vigurs levelled 11 minutes later.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes will be far from pleased with Collum, whom he claimed got three penalty calls wrong when the sides drew 2-2 on Boxing Day.
The defeat ends Aberdeen's 12-game unbeaten league run and puts a dent in their title charge, on the same day Shay Logan talked up his side's chances. Inverness move up to sixth on goal difference.
Caley Thistle made three changes from the side that beat Motherwell a week ago. David Raven, Danny Williams and Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo were left out, with Lewis Horner, Liam Polworth and Jordan Roberts coming in. Aberdeen made two switches, Craig Storie and Niall McGinn replacing Cammy Smith and Peter Pawlett.
If an early Graeme Shinnie sighter was not enough warning for the home side then Rooney provided them with one. Storie broke from midfield and fed the striker, who drilled an effort past the despairing dive of Owain Fon Williams into the far corner.
The lead lasted just 11 minutes though as Inverness profited from Taylor's dallying on the ball, with Vigurs nipping in to slot beyond Scott Brown.
Both Gary Warren and Tremarco somehow failed to connect with a Vigurs corner shortly after that would have put Caley Thistle in front, with Ross Draper and Roberts looking lively for the hosts.
After finishing the first half in the ascendancy, Inverness went ahead in controversial circumstances on 51 minutes. Taylor was adjudged to have brought down Draper but replays showed he made no contact with the big midfielder. However, Collum still pointed to the spot.
Tansey, facing the Dons for the first time since his protracted move to Pittodrie fell through, held his nerve from the spot to send Brown the wrong way.
The drama was just beginning as with 25 minutes to go, Tremarco rose at the back post to steer Roberts' cross in. McNeillie flagged for offside and sparked furious protests from home players but Collum overruled him, with Tremarco narrowly onside when the ball was played.
Aberdeen's fury was exacerbated when Shinnie appeared to be fouled by Horner inside the area but Collum remained unmoved, denying them a route back into the game and pushing Inverness towards three points.