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Inverness CT 2-1 Kilmarnock

Richie Foran (right) celebrates after opening the scoring
Foran put Inverness ahead at Caledonian Stadium against Killie

Inverness continued their revival under Terry Butcher as they survived a Kilmarnock comeback before recording a hard-fought win at Caledonian Stadium.

Craig Bryson and Danny Invincibile had both squandered chances for Killie by the time Richie Foran rose to head Inverness into an 18th-minute lead.

Ian Black's wind-assisted free-kick made it two just three minutes later.

Ross Ford headed a reply before the break, but Killie pressure after the break failed to produce a second goal.

It was the fourth time that Inverness had come out on top in their meetings with Kilmarnock this season.

And it moved Butcher's side to within a point of the visitors - and, perhaps more importantly, four points clear of bottom side Falkirk, who were inactive this weekend and host Caley Thistle next Saturday.

Lionel Djebi-Zadi had retained his place despite being sent off in last week's Scottish Cup defeat by Falkirk and it was his Inverness defence that were under pressure from the kick-off as both sides struggled to cope with the wind swirling in from the Moray Firth.

Goalkeeper Ryan Esson was called into action after 50 seconds when he got down well to block from Bryson with the midfielder clean through on goal.

Then Kevin Kyle fed the ball in for Invincibile, but the Australian failed to connect.

Moments later, Invincibile hesitated when put through again, allowing Ross Tokely to challenge and clear.

Simon Ford (right) is congratulated by his team-mates
Ford (right) brought Killie back into the game just before the break

Striker Adam Rooney had been brought into the Inverness first team for a rare start, with winger Filipe Morais dropping out, and the attacking philosophy paid off as Caley Thistle stole into the lead after 18 minutes.

Killie were without Frazer Wright because of a knee injury and his absence at the heart of the defence was perhaps significant as Tokely's sweeping ball into the box was met by Foran's header as he out-jumped goalkeeper Alan Combe in the six-yard box.

It was exactly the start the relegation-threatened team were looking for, just 10 days after their 1-0 win at Ibrox, which lifted them off bottom spot.

And the advantage was doubled just three minutes later when Ian Black's free-kick, with the wind behind it, fooled everyone to finish in the bottom right corner.

Inverness looked comfortable until Killie struck back out of the blue deep into stoppage time.

Garry Hay's cross was driven into the area and Ford was on hand to head home.

Gavin Skelton went close for Killie straight from kick-off, but his 12-yard drive was saved by Esson.

Killie pressed for an equaliser for much of the half, but they could not create the breakthrough they perhaps deserved.

Inverness Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher :

"We have had a nine-point swing now.

"We were five points behind Falkirk when we came in and now we find ourselves four points ahead - and it brings Kilmarnock into it and puts pressure on them.

"It was not the prettiest game and I apologise for the style of football.

"But in our position you play to your strengths and we need to continue to have a good chance of survival."

Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies :

"There are at least five who have been dragged into the relegation fight.

"I think it is going to be like that until the end the death.

"We should have been up before Inverness got their first goal. We had two, possibly three, golden chances.

"We had all the pressure in the second half, but we did not get the breaks."

Inverness CT : Esson, Tokely, Munro, Mihadjuks, Djebi-Zadi, Proctor, Black, Kerr, Foran (Hastings 81), Rooney (Duff 88), Imrie.
Subs Not Used: Fraser, McBain, Morais, Barrowman, Vigurs.

Goals : Foran 19, Black 21.

Kilmarnock : Combe, Clancy, Ford (Flannigan 87), Lilley, Hay, Hamill, Pascali (Fernandez 78), Bryson, Skelton (Taouil 61), Kyle, Invincibile.
Subs Not Used: Rascle, Murray, O'Leary, Nolan.

Booked : Bryson, Clancy.

Goals : Ford 45.

Att : 4,005

Ref : M Tumilty

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see also
SPL as it happened
14 Mar 09 |  Scottish Premier
SPL photo gallery
14 Mar 09 |  Scottish Premier

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