Inverness CT 0-0 Hibernian
Inverness Caley Thistle warmed up for Sunday's League Cup final with a tame goalless draw at home to Hibernian.
Dean Brill made an excellent early save to keep out a shot from visiting defender Ryan McGivern.
Inverness forward Aaron Doran went close with a strike soon after and the same player was denied by a good Ben Williams save in the second half.
In a game of few thrills the home side will be pleased with a clean sheet following back-to-back 5-0 losses.
The point earned also nudged the Highlanders into fourth spot in the Premiership.
Hibs boss Terry Butcher, making a first return to his former club, can also take heart from not conceding after shipping six goals in his last two outings but the Edinburgh club have now dropped four points behind sixth-placed St Johnstone, who won at Tannadice.
With a Scottish Cup quarter final hammering from Dundee United still fresh and thoughts also turning to the pending cup final against Aberdeen, five changes were made by the home side.
Manager John Hughes brought in Nick Ross, Danny Devine, Carl Tremarco, Danny Williams and Liam Polworth. That helped plug the gaps left by the suspension of Greg Tansey and Marley Watkins, who were both red carded at the weekend, and also gave several other first team regulars a rest.
The game sparked into life in the seventh minute when McGivern picked up the ball in the Caley Thistle box and blasted a powerful shot at goal which was only deflected thanks to a fine fingertip save from Brill.
Then the action immediately switched to the other end where Doran weaved toward the Hibs box before sending a dangerous shot across the goal mouth. Billy Mckay slid in but narrowly failed to make contact and the ball passed just wide of the post.
After that flurry of excitement the game settled into a stalemate. The Caley Thistle defence was coping well with long balls from Hibs, while Inverness were struggling to put fluent passing together in their attacking moves.
There were flashes of skill from Caley Thistle's Doran and Hibernian's on loan winger Duncan Watmore but the end product was not forthcoming in the final third.
Hibs started the second half brightly but it was Inverness who had the first decent chance. Again it was Doran who sent a perfectly weighted cross into McKay but after a great first touch his shot went well wide.
There was a moment of real concern shortly afterwards for Inverness when captain Richie Foran caught Sam Stanton in a heavy late challenge.
Referee Stephen Finnie reached into his pocket and there were sighs of relief from the Caley Thistle supporters when it was a yellow card instead of a red, which would have left the inspirational midfielder suspended for the league cup final on Sunday.
There was another late chance for Doran after he was set up nicely with a pass from Nick Ross but his shot was well saved by Ben Williams.
With the uninspiring game drawing to a close, Hughes brought on youngsters Ryan Christie and Adam Evans who both put in solid performances in the final 12 minutes.
And a point a piece was probably a fair result in a game that will not linger long in the memory.
- 18TremarcoBooked at 29mins
- 9ForanBooked at 61mins
- 11RossSubstituted forChristieat 78'minutes
- 10DoranSubstituted forEvansat 78'minutes
- 23ForsterBooked at 90mins
- 3McGivernBooked at 64mins
- 20TaiwoSubstituted forHeffernanat 90+2'minutes
- 33HaynesSubstituted forCraigat 76'minutes
- 22WatmoreSubstituted forStevensonat 70'minutes
- Stephen Finnie
- Shots on Target