CALEY Thistle had to settle for a point against Hearts on Saturday with Stephen Elliot cancelling out Gregory Tade’s opener in a 1-1 draw at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
Chris Hogg was out from the team which scored ICT’s first win of the season, a fortnight ago, against Kilmarnock, but in for his debut came on-loan Wolves midfielder David Davis.
Kenny Gillet, who has been sidelined for months with a knee injury made the bench, as did Greg Tansey, who’d been out for a few weeks with an ankle knock
Hearts arrived in the Highlands on the back of three consecutive clean sheets and were looking to build upon that, although first choice keeper Marian Kello was sidelined with an injury. Jamie MacDonald took his place in the nets.
Davis looked sharp early on and his cross was just taken away from Richie Foran’s boot by Marius Zaliukas after seven minutes.
After a quiet spell, Hearts almost nudged in front on 25 minutes when Andy Webster connected with a Jamie Hammil corner, but Graeme Shinnie on the line to avert the danger.
Stevenson then burst down the right and his delivery was met by Elliot, but his sliced shot was gathered by keeper Ryan Esson.
The Inverness side upped the tempo as the first half drew to a close and Andrew Shinnie’s cross was knocked just wide by Foran.
The fans were no doubt hoping at the interval that they would be served up better entertainment in the second half.
On 50 minutes, ICT grabbed the lead from a defensive mix-up. Nick Ross nicked the ball from MacDonald and he teed up Tade, who steered the ball into the corner of the net.
Tade was sent through again moments later, but he took too heavy a touch, which gave MacDonald time to recover.
At the other end, sub David Templeton cut inside the Inverness CT box and crashed a shot off the bar as the Jambos sought an equaliser.
On the hour mark, the impressive Davis, who was created real problems for Hearts, won possession near the corner flag and Andrew Shinnie headed it just wide.
The Highlanders were really stepping up their game and only a fine diving save from MacDonald denied Tade when the Frenchman’s effort went for goal.
Davis went off to a standing ovation with 25 minutes to go, such were his efforts, and Tansey replaced him.
Foran drew a save from MacDonald on 75 minutes when he was picked out at the back post by Ross as the hosts aimed to kill the game.
Hearts got the equaliser with nine minutes left as Templeton’s cross was steered into the net from close range by Elliot.
The visitors almost snatched a late winner when a Danny Grainger corner flew across the six-yard box, but no-one got a touch to divert.
Inverness CT: Esson, Piermayr, Tokely, Foran (Sutherland 85), Graeme Shinnie, Ross, Tade, Golobart, Morrison, Andrew Shinnie (Chippendale 81), Davis (Tansey 65). Subs not used: Tuffey (GK), Gillet.
Hearts: MacDonald, Hammill, Grainger, Webster, Black, Elliot, Obua (Jonsson 78), Stevenson, Novikovas (Templeton 46), Zaliukas (Taouil 66), Mrowiec. Subs not used: Hamilton (GK), Smith, Robinson.
Referee: Willie Collum.