Dundee 1-1 Inverness CT

By Paul MitchellBBC Scotland at Dens Park

Billy McKay headed in a late Inverness equaliser to deny Dundee a precious victory in their fight for Scottish Premier League survival.

John Baird cracked a 20-yard strike beyond Ryan Esson to put Dundee ahead after 13 minutes.

Caley Thistle's Andrew Shinnie hit the crossbar before another Baird shot was well kept out by Esson.

The visitors piled on the pressure and, with seven minutes remaining, McKay popped up at the back post to level.

Interim boss John Brown has brought his ethos to bear quickly upon Dundee and it showed as they almost recorded back-to-back wins in the SPL for the first time this season.

The fact that they fell short was not through lack of effort or determination but the pressure that Caley Thistle brought upon them finally proved too much for the Dark Blues.

On a soft pitch that had survived an early inspection due to heavy rain, some players struggled to keep their feet with the goal areas badly pockmarked after the opening 10 minutes.

Inverness were first to threaten as Andrew Shinnie and Graham Doran cleverly interchanged on the right, the cross a little high for McKay who made contact but could not direct his header on target.

Baird, who was prolific in the First Division for Raith Rovers last season has not had too much to smile about in the SPL so far but coming into the game with two goals in his last three outings he took the first chance that came his way.

A Ryan Conroy pass was controlled on the edge of the box and dispatched in style with a low shot.

Dundee's lead was almost extended when Nicky Riley sent a volley over from 18 yards after a clearing header from Owen Tudur-Jones looped invitingly to him.

Caley Thistle then countered as Garry Warren saw his header taken off the line by the head of Gary Irvine, while Andrew Shinnie turned swiftly and shot only to see his shot canon back off the crossbar.

With 30 minutes gone, visiting manager Terry Butcher made his displeasure known; thumping a hole in the plexi-glass dug-out as a move from his men petered out in indecision.

Only an alert block from Esson prevented Baird from stretching Dundee's lead as the home side who had been soaking up pressure broke efficiently to show their danger on the counter-attack.

Early in the second half, Iain Davidson - moving away from goal - met a Conroy corner and his back header, a clever flick, was turned over the bar by Esson.

Inverness continued ti enjoy the bulk of possession but they found space at a premium as Dundee worked so hard to deny them any chance to trouble Rab Douglas.

Tudur-Jones thought he had found the equaliser after 73 minutes only for the veteran goalkeeper, who was carrying a thigh injury throughout the game, to get down swiftly and turn the shot round the post.

Brown could not fault his side's endeavours but he will be disappointed that Dundee failed to hold on as Andrew Shinnie's cross deep from the left was met by McKay and the striker nodded in his 23rd goal of the season.

With Hearts and St Mirren 14 points better off, Dundee face an almighty task if they are to avoid the drop but there is a glimmer of hope around Dens Park; for Caley Thistle it was a frustrating afternoon that could have been worse.

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