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Hibernian 1-2 Inverness CT

Don Cowie celebrates his goal with Dougie Imrie
Cowie put Inverness ahead at Easter Road against Hibs

Inverness Caledonian Thistle ended a run of four straight defeats as breakaway goals from Don Cowie and Ian Black floored disappointing Hibernian.

Cowie pounced to dispossess David van Zanten after 30 minutes before firing home the opening goal.

And, two minutes after the break, Ian Black drove in the second from 17 yards after being set up by Dougie Imrie.

Hibs' Derek Riordan had a penalty saved by Ryan Esson before driving home with the last kick of the ball.

Esson's introduction had been one of three changes made by Caley Thistle manager Craig Brewster, goalkeeper Michael Fraser and strikers Roy McBain and Andy Barrowman paying the price of last weekend's 5-0 hammering by Rangers.

Lewis Stevenson and John Rankin dropped out for Hibs as they attempted to improve on a goalless draw with St Mirren and record their first win in four games.

Although Sol Bamba moved into midfield to make way for returning centre-half Chris Hogg, a first starting place for former Gretna playmaker Fabian Yantorno meant it was a particularly attack-minded Hibs line-up.

And it almost paid off within seconds as Riordan turned his marker and sent a right-foot shot inches wide of the post.

Garry Wood, restored to the Inverness starting line-up as a lone striker, was in the wars early on but returned to the field of play with a bandage covering a head wound.

Battling Caley Thistle had made their intentions clear - to surrender the final third, soak up the pressure and hit Hibs on the break.

And they did just that after 30 minutes when Van Zanten allowed a long ball to bounce when he should have cleared.

Derek Riordan holds his head in his hands in despair
Riordan missed a penalty but scored in the dying seconds

Cowie muscled the right-back off the ball and thumped home past Yves Ma-Kalambay with the goalkeeper possibly being slow to come off his line.

Inverness were content to sit on their lead and Hibs' three-man attack were forced to drop deeper and deeper in search of the ball before the home team departed for the interval with boos ringing in their ears.

There was further bad news at half-time for the home side, with Ma-Kalambay and striker Steven Fletcher failing to return to the field of play, the injured duo being replaced with Andy McNeil and Steven Pinau.

Hibs threatened to overcome their problems at the start of the second half when they forced the first save of the match from Esson, the goalkeeper diving full-stretch to turn Bamba's drive wide.

But, from the corner, Caley Thistle broke clear and Imrie set up Black, who drove the ball home from 17 yards.

Esson produced another good save to deny Rob Jones, but it was Inverness who went close again on the break, Wood setting up Cowie, who sent his effort just wide.

Hibs ought to have pulled a goal back when Richard Hastings pulled down Colin Nish inside the box, but Riordan's spot kick was saved by Esson.

Riordan did get his name on the scoresheet in the dying seconds, but there was no time for a fightback.

Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen: "I thought the goals we conceded were absolute jokes, I must say.

"At the first one, we were asking for trouble by waiting and waiting and waiting, waiting for trouble to happen. Then we got what we asked for, we got big trouble when they scored.

"The second one was the same again. The player had the ball at his feet 20 yards from goal and nobody closed him down.

"In that situation, there is every chance he has a shot, and in the Premier League you get punished if you defend like that. It can't be tolerated."

Inverness Caley Thistle manager Craig Brewster: "I thought it was an excellent performance. I was bitterly disappointed with the first 45 minutes at Ibrox, but that's gone now.

"The players took a bit of credit for their second-half performance because nobody likes to go out at Ibrox or Parkhead 5-0 down.

"That took guts last week and I just had to remind the players today that they are good players and a good team if everybody works for each other.

"The way the players went in about them and closed Hibs down was excellent."

Hibernian: Ma-Kalambay (McNeil 46), van Zanten, Hogg (Rankin 82), Jones, Murray, Bamba, Yantorno, Nish, Shiels, Fletcher (Pinau 46), Riordan.
Subs Not Used: Keenan, Stevenson, Thicot, Chisholm.

Booked: Fletcher, Murray.

Goals: Riordan 90.

Inverness CT: Esson, Tokely, Proctor, Munro, Hastings, Cowie, Black (McBain 70), Duncan, Vigurs, Imrie (Rooney 89), Wood (Barrowman 83).
Subs Not Used: Fraser, Wilson, Sutherland, Duff.

Booked: Vigurs, Black.

Goals: Cowie 30, Black 47.

Att: 11,688

Ref: C Boyle

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Caley Thistle's Don Cowie 9.00 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
SPL photo gallery
08 Nov 08 |  Scottish Premier
SPL - as it happened
08 Nov 08 |  Scottish Premier

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