Kilmarnock 1-2 Inverness CT
Last updated on .From the section Football
Billy McKay's lobbed winner at Kilmarnock re-established Inverness Caley Thistle's three-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
August's player of the month, Richie Foran, headed the visitors into an early lead at Rugby Park.
Killie levelled in an unusual manner when Barry Nicholson diverted Graeme Shinnie's clearance into the net.
But McKay replied with his sixth goal of the campaign, leaving Kilmarnock winless in seven games this season.
Due to Hearts' points deduction and St Mirren's struggle to find form, Allan Johnston's side remain 10th, but they will be desperate to take something from next weekend's match at Partick Thistle.
In comparison, Terry Butcher's Inverness have won five and drawn one of their six Premiership games.
The price McKay pays for having been so effective and prolific over the past two seasons is that onlookers begin to set higher and higher standards for him.
Therefore, a first-half volley the Northern Irishman screwed wide from Doran's deep cross was met with sighs that, on reflection, were maybe a tad harsh.
However, his winner, which came minutes after Kilmarnock had hauled themselves back into the contest, was taken coolly and lethally, as has become his trademark.
The Northern Irishman did not look overly pleased after his neat lob over Craig Samson following a long ball from Josh Meekings, but he should have been.
It says a lot for McKay that, when he's not the player sticking the ball in the back of the net, he often plays a large part in creating goal-scoring chances for others.
Caley Thistle's early opener at Rugby Park only came about because the 5ft 7in striker rose to win a header in a crowded Kilmarnock penalty area, knocking it to Aaron Doran, who in turn side-footed across goal for Foran to head home from two yards.
Being booed off at half-time had the hosts hurting and they had restored parity early in the second half in what was only Killie's fifth goal of the campaign.
It came from the foot of midfielder Nicholson but in far more bizarre fashion than his screamer against Hibernian in August.
Inverness full-back Shinnie's sliding clearance from substitute Rabiu Ibrahim's through-ball cannoned off Nicholson in wacky fashion and found the bottom corner of Brill's net.
The unorthodox goal did not reap any rewards in terms of points for Johnston's men, but there were encouraging signs.
Michael Gardyne swapped Tayside for Ayrshire on a loan deal prior to transfer deadline day in his quest for regular playing time.
This was his first Killie start and his eagerness to spruce up a forward line that has only netted four times this season was clear to see.
He seriously worked Inverness goalkeeper Dean Brill midway through the first-half with a low left-foot strike from 20 yards that the on-loan Luton stopper did well to turn round the post.
On another occasion, the 27-year-old forward ought to have done better from Kris Boyd's cut-back but allowed Brill to watch it sail over.
...of longest name in the British League game.
I applaud Inverness and Terry Butcher.
I would love for them and Aberdeen to make a bit of a challenge this season or maybe win a cup.
Added to that a good Champions league for Celtic and big crowds at Tynecastle every 2 weeks will shine well on Scottish football.
Celtic will win the league because they have the best players but I hope they get pushed all the way.
Terry Butcher proving himself a formidable manager.
@16 [ Strange_UBoat ] -
"Big Tel, the manager in-waiting of new Rangers:)"
LOL - not so sure about that.
After stating so clearly in his autobiography his revulsion at the bigotry he saw at Ibrox as a player?
The Rangers' only hope of getting him is his clear understanding that "they are now a new club". Fresh start?
#23 I liked the way he cleared out a team last season and did really well in the league, and has kept it going this season too. Doubt he'll ever end up at Ibrox: seems to like to lifestyle and no serious coach would go there.
Yes, it's the Anderson mechanics under 9's league down here in Dumfries. Our team, Reds United are 11 points clear at the top. Up the reds.
Shame more people in Inverness don't come out to watch them.