Match ends, Inverness CT 1, Ross County 1.
A second-half own goal by Gary Warren earned a vital point for Ross County to prevent home side Inverness going second in the Scottish Premiership.
Marley Watkins broke the deadlock with a superb curling effort low past Antonio Reguero to break the deadlock.
County levelled when Warren appeared to touch home a Jackson Irvine cross under pressure from substitute Jake Jervis.
But Inverness will be furious after Watkins appeared to be clipped in the box by Reguero with the goal gaping.
Home manager John Hughes appeared to change his set-up to accommodate conditions and it proved effective in the first half.
He had to solve the conundrum of the loss of his star striker Billy McKay to Wigan.
Watkins was advanced to McKay's normal role and he took to it superbly as demonstrated by the opening goal.
The pitch seemed to contribute to County players being unable to gather the ball.
Watkins picked up and showed great desire and confidence to curl the ball beautifully away from Reguero's despairing dive, a rare moment of quality on a difficult surface that had passed a morning inspection.
Dingwall had an earlier opportunity to put the visitors in front when he gathered inside the box.
He had time from around 12 yards but could not find the angle to beat Esson who blocked well with his legs.
It was a first half of few chances but the home side took confidence from their goal and were on the front foot after the break.
Tenacious play by Watkins on the right gave Williams the opportunity to strike from a central position inside the area.
His shot was blocked away for a corner when he possibly should have done better.
Warren then used his considerable frame to muscle his way through a packed six-yard box, but his header was blocked a yard or so from goal.
Meekings then had an opportunity from another corner, but agonised as his drive was kicked off the line to safety.
However, County demonstrated real character and hauled themselves level.
Irvine gathered on the right and surged up the wing with real determination.
His cross was searching and perfectly weighted for the on-rushing Jervis but it looked like the unfortunate Warren was last to make contact with the ball.
As County went for the winner, Graham Carey put the striker in on the left hand side but with only Esson to beat he cracked his shot wide.
Greg Tansey came close with a curling free-kick which Reguero covered well but there was a big call for referee John Beaton with just a minute to go.
Boyd hesitated as the ball held up in the mud. Watkins nipped in and beat Reguero to the ball.
It appeared that Watkins was left with a tap-in but he went down and the referee said no penalty.
Pictures revealed that Reguero had indeed clipped Watkins and he struggled to retain his balance before tumbling.
It should have been a penalty and may have given Inverness the chance to go clear in second place.
County will feel grateful for Beaton's generosity but will also feel they deserved something from a battling performance.
- 5WarrenBooked at 25mins
- 16TanseyBooked at 62minsSubstituted forDoranat 88'minutes
- 11RossBooked at 53minsSubstituted forChristieat 77'minutes
- 30DingwallSubstituted forCareyat 66'minutes
- 10KissSubstituted forPalazuelosat 62'minutes
- 16BoyceBooked at 78mins
- 11CurranSubstituted forJervisat 75'minutesBooked at 78mins
- 24De Vita
- John Beaton
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Inverness CT 1, Ross County 1.
Attempt missed. Liam Boyce (Ross County) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Attempt missed. Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Foul by Danny Williams (Inverness CT).
Marcus Fraser (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ryan Christie (Inverness CT).
Jamie Reckord (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Inverness CT. Aaron Doran replaces Greg Tansey.
Attempt missed. Jackson Irvine (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.
Attempt missed. Jackson Irvine (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).
Paul Quinn (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.
Jake Jervis (Ross County) is shown the yellow card.
Liam Boyce (Ross County) is shown the yellow card.
Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Liam Boyce (Ross County).
Attempt missed. Jake Jervis (Ross County) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left.
Substitution, Inverness CT. Ryan Christie replaces Nick Ross.