Caley Thistle squandered the lead three times in an entertaining encounter at the Caledonian Stadium, eventually having to settle for a 3-3 draw against Kilmarnock.
The result moves Inverness seven points clear of Dundee United ahead of their trip to Tannadice on Tuesday, after the Tangerines’ 2-0 loss against St Johnstone.
Captain Graeme Shinnie gave the home side the lead on 17 minutes, however Nathan Eccleston levelled just three minutes later. Nick Ross’ deflected effort put Inverness ahead once again on 34 minutes, however Craig Slater’s free-kick was helped into the net by goalkeeper Ryan Esson on the stroke of half-time.
Danny Williams put the Caley Jags in the driving seat for a third time with a superb 30 yard strike on 55 minutes, but Tope Obadeyi’s close-range strike ensured the Ayrshire side came away from the Highlands with a point.
Caley Thistle manager John Hughes kept faith with the side that defeated St Mirren 2-1 in Paisley last weekend, meaning teenager Ryan Christie remained in the side.
Caretaker manager Gary Locke made three changes from the side that defeated Dundee United 3-2 last week, with mach winner Sammy Clingan and Chris Chantler out injured, while Alexei Eremenko missed out through suspension. There was a first start for attacker Eccleston, while Ross Barbour and Mark O’Hara also started.
Inverness took the lead on 17 minutes, as Marley Watkins nodded the ball down across goal into the path of Nick Ross, and although the midfielder failed to make a connection it came through for captain Graeme Shinnie to stab home from close-range.
The lead lasted just four minutes however, with Killie midfielder Chris Johnston taking aim from long-range, his shot spinning off the back of Gary Warren and kindly into the path of Eccleston, who capped his first start for the club with a neat, cushioned volley.
The Caley Jags regained the lead on 34 minutes, when excellent play from Christie saw him send Watkins down the left, with his low cross to the near post was tucked home by Ross, although the shot was helped in by a deflection.
A deflection was again the cause of the goal that levelled proceedings before half-time, with Killie midfielder Craig Slater taking aim with a free-kick, which was initially saved by goalkeeper Ryan Esson, but came back off the former Aberdeen stopper’s back and into the net.
That was harsh on Inverness, but they went ahead for a third time on 55 minutes, this time in spectacular style. Watkins played the ball into the path of Danny Williams, and he sent a left-footed screamer past Craig Samson from 30 yards.
Having edged ahead, the Caley Jags had only themselves to blame for Killie’s third equaliser on 61 minutes. Slater’s corner was knocked down inside the box by Manuel Pascali, before being thumped home by Tope Obadeyi from point-blank range to ensure a share of the spoils.