Match ends, Dundee United 1, Inverness CT 1.
Dundee United fought back from losing a goal and a man to earn a draw against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
An exciting game was bookended by the dismissals of United goalkeeper Michal Szromnik and Inverness's Gary Warren.
In between, Inverness's Greg Tansey scored with a penalty awarded for Szromnik's foul on Marley Watkins and Ryan McGowan levelled.
Inverness ought to have extended their lead, but United were irrepressible after the break and got their reward.
Referee Calum Murray soon had several decisions to make. In the opening 10 seconds, Inverness defender David Raven clattered recklessly into United's Ryan Dow, drawing a yellow card from the official.
Ten minutes later Murray was faced with an even more significant decision.
After breaking United's offside trap, Watkins raced into the penalty area, where Szromnik rashly pushed him over having sprinted off his goal-line in panic.
It was a clear penalty kick, although United's coaching staff felt, wrongly according to TV pictures, that Watkins had been offside.
A minute or two elapsed before the decision was made to take off Chris Erskine for substitute goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak.
Erskine was furious, and gesticulated as he took his place on the bench. There was further dismay for United when Tansey converted the penalty kick.
United came into this game having lost their last two games - 3-2 to Kilmarnock and 2-0 at home against St Johnstone - while Inverness had been unbeaten in 2015 and still had ambitions of overhauling Aberdeen for second place in the Premiership.
They were emboldened by the way that United became increasingly insecure at the back and McGowan and Jaroslaw Fojut struggled to cope with the rangy, elusive running of Watkins.
The Inverness striker strode beyond the back line again, clipping the ball past Cierzniak, but McGowan recovered to usher Watkins away from goal.
The Tannadice faithful felt a sense of injustice.
There was uproar in the stands when Watkins and United defender Paul Dixon went head-to-head inside the penalty area at a corner kick. Both players were lectured by Murray, then Watkins met the set piece and his header was turned over by his team-mate Warren.
The interval allowed United to regroup and United manager Jackie McNamara used it to demand greater intensity from his players. After the break Inverness looked unsettled and were unable to take advantage of their extra man.
Raven could have been sent off for a second yellow card after the Inverness defender floored Dixon only seconds after the break.
Watkins too might have feared dismissal after a stamp on United forward Aidan Connolly.
The tousy nature of their play reflected the unswerving effort of United, who were playing with renewed vigour. The home side were refusing to settle for a defeat, and Inverness keeper Ryan Esson had to rush from his goal to block Ryan Dow's shot from close range.
United's reward came through persistence. McGowan initially made poor contact with the ball at a corner kick, but he reacted quickly to clip it goalwards, while grounded, and it looped over the head of Esson into the net.
As Inverness brooded on their failure to cope with United's spiky resolve, the hosts continued to press for a winning goal.
Nadir Ciftci was too eager to supply it, and rushed a volley at goal when he could have controlled the ball and taken it closer in, Esson making a diving save.
Inverness eventually recovered their poise, and generated a run of chances. Danny Williams saw his header from inside the six yard box blocked, then Watkins turned a cross into the side-netting.
And Tansey's 30-yard strike stung the fingertips of Cierzniak.
An off-the-ball clash between Ciftci and Warren prompted the assistant referee to rush on to the pitch. After consultations, Warren was dismissed and Ciftci booked.
A pulsating game could only eventually be subdued by the final whistle.
- 26SzromnikBooked at 6mins
- 6PatonBooked at 24mins
- 20ButcherSubstituted forAnierat 84'minutes
- 22ConnollySubstituted forMuirheadat 77'minutes
- 17ErskineSubstituted forCierzniakat 7'minutes
- 18DowBooked at 86mins
- 7CiftciBooked at 90mins
- 2RavenBooked at 1mins
- 5WarrenBooked at 90mins
- 3ShinnieBooked at 29mins
- 22ChristieBooked at 61mins
- 15WatkinsBooked at 51mins
- Calum Murray
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Dundee United 1, Inverness CT 1.
Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.
Gary Warren (Inverness CT) is shown the red card for a bad foul.
Paul Dixon (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).
Foul by Robbie Muirhead (Dundee United).
Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Danny Williams (Inverness CT).
Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Radoslaw Cierzniak.
Attempt saved. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.
Ryan Dow (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.
Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ryan Dow (Dundee United).
Substitution, Dundee United. Henri Anier replaces Calum Butcher.
Attempt missed. Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Attempt missed. Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.
Foul by Robbie Muirhead (Dundee United).
Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.