Hibernian 2-2 Inverness CT

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland

Hibernian somehow let a two-goal lead slip to miss out on the chance to go top of the Scottish Premier League.

Eoin Doyle put the Edinburgh side ahead, knocking in the rebound after Ryan Esson had saved his initial shot.

David Wotherspoon doubled the lead with a spectacular effort from outside the Inverness penalty box.

But Conor Pepper handed Caley Thistle a lifeline before the break and Richie Foran grabbed a late equaliser to earn his side an unlikely point.

Doyle had given Hibs an early lead against Caley Thistle at Easter Road
Doyle had given Hibs an early lead against Caley Thistle at Easter Road

Hibs were utterly dominant until the visitors scored their first goal and will be left scratching their heads as to how they failed to win the match.

They were almost gifted an early goal as Josh Meekings typified Caley Thistle's start to the game, allowing a Wotherspoon ball into the box to run under his foot and just outside the post.

Pepper had been one of two 18-year-old strikers handed starts at Easter Road, the Caley Thistle man replacing suspended midfielder Owain Tudur Jones.

The other, Ross Caldwell, who came in for the injured Leigh Griffiths in Hibs' forward line, could do no more than fire into the side-netting after Doyle slid a perfectly-weighted pass into his path.

Having rarely ventured into Hibs' penalty area, Caley Thistle forced Ben Williams into a good save as Aaron Doran fired in from 22 yards, but Hibs were in front less than a minute later.

Doyle broke forward and drove into the box before unleashing a shot that was saved by Esson, only for the striker to react quicker than anyone to force the rebound past defender Andre Blackman on the line.

In complete contrast to the Hibs team of last season, this side was playing with supreme confidence and could have extended their advantage before half-an-hour was played as Paul Cairney fired in a shot that bounced to safety off Esson's left-hand post.

That confidence was perfectly illustrated moments later when Wotherspoon let the ball drop just outside the penalty area before unleashing a beautiful dipping shot that gave Esson no chance as it flew into the net.

Inverness somehow forced their way back into the match five minutes before the break when Alan Maybury was brushed off the ball by Pepper, who rifled in a powerful low shot that found its way to goal off Williams' right-hand post.

Almost unbelievably, Caley Thistle could have been level on the stroke of half-time but for a phenomenal Williams reflex save that denied Graeme Shinnie, who had headed goalwards from six yards.

The second half failed to match the first for intrigue and excitement until Eson kept his side in the match with a tremendous save to keep out a close-range McPake volley with 12 minutes left on the clock.

Caley Thistle were more competitive but scarcely tested Williams until the 80th minute when the keeper produced another astounding stop to keep out a Gary Warren shot, but he was helpless as Foran pounced to slam in the equaliser.

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