Match ends, Inverness CT 4, Hamilton Academical 2.
- Inverness go one point clear at top
- Hamilton drop to third
- Billy McKay scores twice for Caley Thistle
- Tony Andreu grabs double for Accies
Billy McKay proved to be Hamilton's undoing for a second time this season to send Inverness Caledonian Thistle to the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Tony Andreu's free-kick gave Accies an early lead, but McKay, whose last goal came against Hamilton in the season's opening game, fired the equaliser.
A powerful Gary Warren header and a McKay tap-in after the break appeared to put Inverness in command.
Andreu squeezed in a reply, but James Vincent's finish restored the lead.
Winning this pulsating game lifted John Hughes' side a point above Dundee United, who lost on Friday away to Motherwell.
And it gives reigning champions Celtic the chance to go top on goal difference should they win away to Aberdeen on Sunday.
Despite a spirited display, Hamilton drop to third, without a win in four games, their five-match unbeaten run away to Caley Thistle having been ended.
What initially started as an easy on the eye but fairly competitive clash erupted into a thrilling match with Andreu's top-quality free-kick, which opened the scoring.
The midfielder, 25 yards from goal, measured a fierce yet controlled effort in off Dean Brill's post with the goalkeeper struggling to register any form of response given the quality of the strike.
As the first half went on, Inverness seemed to gain a grip on proceedings, with McKay's enthusiastic movement and improved service creating opportunities.
He has struggled for goals this term, but this may mark a turning point for the Northern Irishman.
His touch was sure and allowed him the space to fire home from close range.
Inverness took the lead when Warren's unrelenting desire allowed him to rise superbly to meet Greg Tansey's corner and thunder a header past goalkeeper Michael McGovern.
McKay then took advantage of some poor defending to steal in and tap home after Watkins' shot was saved by McGovern.
Hamilton manager Alex Neil will have seen plenty of positives, though, as his side gave everything to get back into proceedings.
Andreu again delivered as his shot squirmed under Brill for 3-2.
However, Inverness were in no mood to throw it away and Vincent reacted to Watkins' flick and, when confronted by McGovern, showed calmness to find the corner and fire his side to the top of the league table.
- 16TanseyBooked at 71mins
- 4VincentSubstituted forChristieat 87'minutes
- 19WilliamsSubstituted forDoranat 81'minutes
- 8RoutledgeSubstituted forRyanat 65'minutes
- 18MacKinnonBooked at 71mins
- 28RedmondSubstituted forImrieat 53'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 99Antoine-CurierSubstituted forScotlandat 82'minutes
- William Collum
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Inverness CT 4, Hamilton Academical 2.
Foul by Billy McKay (Inverness CT).
Stephen Hendrie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card.
Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical).
Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical).
Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).
Stephen Hendrie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Inverness CT. Ryan Christie replaces James Vincent.
Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Dean Brill.
Attempt saved. Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Jason Scotland replaces Mickael Antoine-Curier.
Substitution, Inverness CT. Aaron Doran replaces Danny Williams because of an injury.
Andy Ryan (Hamilton Academical) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.
Attempt saved. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the bottom right corner.
Billy McKay (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical).