Boss Duncan Ferguson felt Caley Thistle lacked spark to open up Partick Thistle – but claimed a penalty decision in the 0-0 draw could have tipped the balance in their favour.
Midfielder Aaron Doran went down under a challenge by Kieran Ngwenya in the first half in the box but the appeals were waved away by referee Dan McFarlane.
The 0-0 draw, allied with basement club Morton sharing the spoils at Queen’s Park, means ICT remain off the foot of the Championship table on goal difference before a trip to Cappielow in two weeks.
It was also the Caley Jags’ first shut-out of the season but in his first home fixture in charge of ICT, manager Ferguson reckons the Doran incident could have been a turning point.
He said: “I couldn’t see it from where I was. They (the players) did jump up looking for a penalty. I have seen the slo-mo and it looks like the boy has come through the back of him.
“It looks like a penalty. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t.”
‘Keeps the momentum going a bit’
Ferguson, however, was delighted to at least see his side record their first shut-out of the season to earn their fifth Championship point.
He said: “It was hard work for both teams. We were really good defensively.
“Partick have scored a lot of goals in the last few games and were the top scorers in the league.
“That’s our first clean sheets, so defensively and tactically we were very good.
“Of course, in the balance of creating chances, we never really created a clear-cut one.
“I am really pleased because the draw gets us another point. It keeps the momentum going a little bit.”
Ferguson – ‘I want to build from back’
Ferguson, after just two matches, sees enough from his players to suggest the players are taking his instructions on board.
He added: “You can see a wee bit of the style that is going to be attached to us.
“I want to play football and I want to build from the back.
“I want us to get into the final third and not just panic and throw balls in the box.
“When we’re in the transition and counter-attacking, yes, you go quickly, but once we’re in we need a rhythm, we need to connect and combine to create the chances.
“I think we started to get that in the second half, without quite having that final pass in there.”
It was game on after early rain fears
The Highland side were looking to build upon their 3-2 victory at Arbroath, in manager Duncan Ferguson’s first match in charge.
The heavy overnight rain cast a shadow of doubt over the game, with many visiting fans unable to travel due to train cancellations due to the weather warning.
However, Inverness remained confident throughout the morning the pitch was capable of handling the high volume of water and it was a case of ‘game on’.
Ferguson, determined to build momentum ahead of next week’s international break, made no changes.
Partick, boosted by the league’s top scorer, five-goal Brian Graham, went into this game third in the league following a 3-0 home success against Dunfermline Athletic.
Jags manager Kris Doolan, unsurprisingly, also kept with the same starting 11.
The first chance of note fell for ICT when Aussie defender Nikola Ujdur flashed a header wide from a corner after Aaron Muirhead deflected a Cammy Harper cross behind.
In a first half of few opportunities, Partick, who had lost 1-0 on their last three visits to Inverness, tried to find a way through when Scott Robinson aimed to pick out Graham, but there was too much pace on the pass.
Just before the break, Charlie Gilmour broke free of Kieran Ngwenya on the left, whipped over a cross and the ball just spun away from Nathan Shaw as he prepared to go for it.
Teams sought the breakthrough goal
Aidan Fitzpatrick weaved into the home box moments into the second half for Thistle, but his attempt came off the base of the post.
For ICT, a Harper cross into the box was collected by Luis Longstaff, but he just failed to find his feet in time to get a shot away.
There was agony for home midfielder Aaron Doran, who was always trying to make things happen, when he went down clutching his thigh. He was replaced by Austin Samuels.
On 66 minutes, Caley Thistle goalkeeper Mark Ridgers pulled off a fine diving save when he touched a low 25-yarder from Graham around the post to keep it level.
The best Inverness attack came on 73 minutes when Charlie Gilmour steered a swerving shot around the post after being lined up by Samuels.
Partick had a late burst, with Harry Milne’s shot flashing wide then sub Toni Adeloye crashing a shot over the top after Kerr McInroy’s shot was leaked by Ridgers.
CALEY THISTLE (4-4-2): Ridgers 6, Carson 6, Ujdur 7, Boyes 6, Harper 7, Longstaff 6, Gilmour 6, Anderson 6, Shaw 6 (Brooks 85), Doran 7 (Samuels 65), Billy Mckay 7 (Lodovica 85). Subs not used: Cammy Mackay (GK), Delaney, Devine, Davidson, Hyde, Thompson.
PARTICK THISTLE (4-3-3): Sneddon 6, Ngwenya 6, Muirhead 7, Neilson 6, Milne 6, McInroy 7, Robinson 6, Bannigan 6, Lawless 7, Graham 6 (Adeloye 74), Fitzpatrick 6 (MacDonald 74). Subs not used: Mitchell (GK), Williams, McGinley, Williamson, Alston, Stanway, MacKenzie.
Referee: Dan McFarlane.
Man of the match: Cammy Harper.