The Inverness defender who is on loan from Premiership side Wigan Athletic had put Kilmarnock in front with a contender for own goal of the season as he produced an athletic over head kick which beat Esson and went into the top corner of the neat.
However Roman Golobart made up for this mistake as he scored Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s equaliser with only seven minutes remaining with a header from a Shane Sutherland cross. The Kilmarnock bench protested the goal believing it to be offside, however their appeals were ignored by referee Calum Murray.
Caley Thistle had started the game the better of the two sides and would go on to bombard the Kilmarnock goal with only Cammy Bell stopping Inverness from scoring a bagful of goals. Sam Winnall who was starting his first game for Inverness since joining on loan from Wolves had the best opportunity of the first half when Billy McKay had been brought down by Bell in the box, the ball fell to the forward whose shot was deflected of Sissoko and out for a corner.
Roman Golobart opened the scoring on 31 minutes with his athletic overhead kick own goal when he was under minimal pressure from the Kilmarnock strikers to the bafflement of the home support.
Inverness had a frustrating first half and the game was summed up in one shot when Greg Tansey’s shot on 40 minutes went miles over the bar and over the stand to the hilarity of the Kilmarnock fans and the despair of the Inverness support.
Caley Thistle started the second half much better than the first, determined to get something from the game while Kilmarnock looked content to sit in and soak up the pressure as Caley continued to look like they were all bark and no teeth in front of goal, with McKay and Winnall missing chance after chance.
However the introduction of Gnakpa and Nick Ross, along with a switch in set piece duties from Tansey to Sutherland seemed to give Inverness much more attacking flair to get passed Kilmarnock. Sutherland’s corners and free kicks were causing chaos in the Kilmarnock box and they finally worked when on 83 minutes a corner from Sutherland caused a stramash in the Killie box which saw McKay head the ball off the cross bar before falling to Golobart who headed the rebound into the net past a clambering Bell trying to get through the mass build up of players in his goalmouth.
Kilmarnock were awoken from their hide out after this goal and having not threatened Esson once in the second half came very close to snatching a late winner in extra time when they received four corner kicks back to back before their last effort was cleared by the headline man, Roman Golobart.
After the match Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels said: “We didn’t start playing till Inverness scored the equaliser, we tried to keep what we had and we were disappointed in that. Inverness you know worked really hard and must had 20 shots off target and they were shooting from everywhere.
“They were pressing hard for the equaliser and when they got the equaliser, we came out and played that bit better. I thought their goal was offside, it was offside. We know we are not going to make the top six now, that’s something we understand.”
Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Terry Butcher added after the match: “I can’t believe it, I’m going to get a DVD at the start of the season and say, we should have won the game, disappointed, played really well, made a load of chances, gutted we haven’t won it. Today I could have taken that DVD out and said that’s it for the day. Because it’s the same old story. I don’t think I have ever dominated a match with Motherwell or Caley Thistle in the SPL, don’t think have ever had as many opportunities to score or put good balls in the box.”
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Esson, Tokely, Golobart, Shinnie, Meekings, Tansey, Foran (Tudur-Jones – 90) Tade(Gnakpa – 69) Sutherland, Winnall (Ross – 70) McKay.
Substitutes not used: Tuffey, Proctor, Williams, Morrison
Kilmarnock: Bell, Toshney, Nelson, Gordon, Sissoko, Silva (Heffernan – 71) Kelly, Buijs, Harkins, Racchi, (Johnson – 76), Kennedy (Fowler – 58).
Substitutes not used: Letheren, Kroca, McKeown, Dayton
Referee: Calum Murray
Report by Nathan MacKenzie