Inverness CT 1-1 Hearts

By Colin MoffatBBC Scotland

Marius Zaliukas converted a last-minute penalty to earn troubled Hearts a share of the spoils at Inverness.

The Tynecastle skipper stepped up on his 29th birthday following a trip on Callum Paterson by Owain Tudur Jones.

The Welshman had earlier fired Inverness in front with his first goal for the club; a thunderous strike.

The late equaliser will provide some joy for Hearts in a week when they fell under the threat of a winding-up order over an unpaid tax bill.

Inverness, who are now 10 games unbeaten, remain third in the Scottish Premier League, having squandered the chance to join front-runners Celtic and Hibernian on 21 points.

Hearts, who are fighting to address a £2m shortfall in funding, stay in 10th spot.

The Highlanders first threatened when Aaron Doran found Andrew Shinnie with a lofted pass over the Hearts defence but the Caley Thistle midfielder scuffed his volley into the turf and Jamie Macdonald saved comfortably.

However, there was nothing the Hearts keeper could do to stop the in-form home side taking the lead on 21 minutes.

Welsh international Jones collected a flicked pass from Andrew Shinnie and simply hammered a blistering strike into the back of the net from 25 yards.

Hearts offered little in an attacking sense in the opening 45 minutes, with Ryan Stevenson failing to trouble Antonio Reguero with three efforts from distance and Callum Paterson twice seeing efforts blocked inside the penalty box.

Inverness were far more incisive going forward and striker Billy McKay eased past Andy Webster only to shoot wide from edge of penalty area.

A few minutes before the interval, McKay was crowded out by the visiting defence but managed to set up a shooting chance for skipper Richie Foran, who drew a good diving save from Macdonald from 20 yards.

Hearts introduced Andrew Driver and Dylan McGowan at the start of the second half, with Arvydas Novikovas and Mehdi Taouil making way.

The visitors looked livelier after the changes but Inverness were a menace on the break, with Andrew Shinnie stealing in behind the Hearts defence again on 55 minutes.

The midfielder cut in from the right of the penalty area but could not beat Macdonald with his powerful angled strike. The ball was worked back to Jones, who connected well from 20 yards but his shot was bravely blocked by Zaliukas.

Reguero flapped at a Danny Grainger corner, allowing Zaliukas a glimpse of goal and the Lithuanian's shot was charged down by a defender in blue.

More last-ditch defending from Terry Butcher's side denied Stevenson, who had two cracks at goal thwarted.

Hearts continued to press without causing too many problems for Reguero.

But their industry was rewarded when referee Willie Collum awarded the visitors a penalty in the closing stages.

Paterson was upended by Jones, who was attempting a clearance, and Zaliukas told Stevenson to step aside before coolly sending Reguero the wrong way from the spot to salvage a point for his side.

Live text commentaryexternal-link