Inverness CT 1-1 Dundee Utd: Match Report
Inverness CT 1-1 Dundee Utd: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Dundee United snatch point
Dundee United's hopes of finishing third in the Scottish Premiership remain alive, but only just, after they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Inverness.
The Arabs are six points behind Motherwell with two games to go, but do have a better goal difference than the Steelmen.
United were trailing in this one to Ryan Christie's early opener for Caley Thistle, yet they performed much better in the second half, Farid El Alagui's strike earning them a deserved point.
Inverness made three changes from the side that capitulated at Celtic Park last weekend.
Danny Devine and Ryan Christie were both given starts, while Marley Watkins had recovered from flu to take his place in the side.
Central defenders Gary Warren and Josh Meekings were not involved with Nick Ross dropping down to a bench that included Caley Thistle under-20 players Jason Brown and Alasdair Sutherland.
Groin injuries ruled out both David Raven and James Vincent, while Richie Foran was still sidelined after undergoing knee surgery.
Dundee United's line-up showed just the one alteration after last weekend's 5-1 demolition of Motherwell.
Ryan Gauld came in for Stuart Armstrong, who missed out with a hamstring problem.
Both on-loan Newcastle defender Curtis Good and Calum Butcher remain on the injury list.
Caley Thistle went into this encounter having won just two of their 12 games since the start of March, but they could not have got off to a better start.
Greg Tansey's raking cross field pass picked out Watkins on the right and his cross was perfect for the unmarked Christie to send a close-range header beyond Radoslaw Cierzniak with just seven minutes gone.
Boosted by the goal, Inverness began to grow in confidence and produced some sharp, crisp passing moves that United simply could not cope with.
Gavin Gunning got back to deny Billy Mckay with a last ditch tackle as he latched on to Christie's through-ball, while Cierzniak did well to hold on to a powerful Tansey drive.
The visitors, however, had two chances in quick succession to level, given a clear sight of goal on both occasions, but neither Nadir Ciftci or Ryan Dow could find a way past Dean Brill, who was quickly off his line each time to deny them.
Opportunities began to fall United's way as the interval approached and Gary Mackay-Steven was not too far away from finding the target after Keith Watson's cross deflected into his path 12 yards out.
In a bid to try and lift his side, Arabs boss Jackie McNamara introduced Brian Graham as a half-time replacement, the striker coming on for Mackay-Steven.
It seemed to have the desired effect when Rankin played the substitute in, but his weak finish was straight into the body of the on-rushing Brill.
Graham then spurned another great opportunity as he got himself on the end of Paton's chipped ball into the box, only to balloon his shot over the crossbar.
Caley Thistle had another let off moments later, substitute El Alagui failing to find the target with a free header from Paton's free-kick.
United's pressure finally told in the 71st minute.
El Alagui this time found a way to goal, albeit from just a yard out as Caley Thistle failed to properly clear another Paton set piece, while Brill felt he was impeded just before the on-loan Brentford man provided the decisive touch.
Both teams pushed hard for a winner in the final stages, but none was forthcoming and the points were shared.
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