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Kilmarnock 2-1 Caley Thistle

Caley Thistle defender Gary Warren and Kilmarnock's Dale Carrick in action
Caley Thistle defender Gary Warren and Kilmarnock's Dale Carrick in action

Caley Thistle’s six match unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-1 defeat by Kilmarnock at a snowy Rugby Park.

Greg Kiltie gave Killie an early lead before Ross Draper levelled the scores four minutes before the break.

Craig Slater produced a moment of top quality to put the hosts back in front with a sublime volley after 51 minutes.

This was Kilmarnock’s first home win since a 2-0 success against Caley Thistle in October.

Caley Thistle made one enforced change from last week’s 0-0 draw with Stirling Albion. Carl Tremarco replaced the suspended Daniel Devine and partnered Gary Warren in the heart of the Inverness defence with Josh Meekings again missing out with a knee injury. Captain Richie Foran was also fit enough for a place on the bench.

Kilmarnock made four alterations from the team that defeated St Johnstone 1-0 with Stuart Findlay, Dale Carrick, Jamie Hamill and Kallum Higginbotham stepping in for Kevin McHattie, Rory McKenzie, Steven Smith and Josh Magennis.

It was the hosts who started better in the snowy conditions and took the lead after only 10 minutes.

After an Adam Frizzell effort was blocked by Tremarco, the ball fell kindly to Kiltie who drove home from close range to give his side the lead.

Caley Thistle almost mustered an immediate response with Liam Polworth’s long-range drive drawing a smart save from Jamie MacDonald.

The game was halted after 25 minutes to allow the lines to be cleared from the snow, which had fallen relentlessly since kick-off.

After the re-start Polworth tried his luck from distance with another well-struck attempt, which was tipped around the post for a corner by MacDonald.

Inverness drew level from the resulting set-piece with Draper in the right place to fire a Greg Tansey cross beyond the Kilmarnock stopper only four minutes before the break.

After a prolonged half-time to allow the lines to be swept once more, Caley Thistle almost gained the upper hand with Warren’s header tipped over the crossbar by a relieved MacDonald.

But it was Killie who grabbed the second goal in spectacular style. A David Raven headed clearance from Hamill’s floated cross fell perfectly to Slater on the edge of the penalty area, who produced a sumptuous volley that kissed the crossbar on its way into the net.

John Hughes, the Inverness manager, introduced Andrea Mutombo and Alex Fisher for Polworth and Nat Wedderburn in a bid to gain fresh impetus.

The change almost had the desired effect but Draper and Fisher were inches away from connecting with a tantalising Danny Williams cross.

The visitors pushed for an equaliser until the end but Killie held on for the victory to open up a 14-point gap over bottom of the table Dundee United.

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