It was a much-admired figure from Kilmarnock’s past, Bobby Williamson, who once growled ‘if you want entertainment, then go to the pictures’. A bag of popcorn and a decent flick would have been preferable, surely, to the majority present at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium yesterday.
This was no classic, certainly, but a match where Killie’s grit and endeavour might well have pleased the erstwhile manager, despite the late kick in the proverbial teeth. For Inverness and boss Richie Foran, though, this represented a slump in form after five games unbeaten and the honourable defeat to Rangers last Friday.
Foran, with frustration visible as he assessed the performance, suspected a bout of Old Firm blues was behind Inverness Caley Thistle’s lack of sparkle. It took a late, scrambled Lonsana Doumbouya leveller to salvage a point after Souleyman Coulibaly’s early penalty kick strike.
“Games you play after the Old Firm are always tough. We don’t seem to perform after we play them,” Foran said. “You come from the exciting game, Friday night, full house, great atmosphere and today it’s a bit flat. Maybe we’ll give them an excuse for that.
“Maybe mentally we weren’t right – and we did look a wee bit tired in the first half. We didn’t start well. With a silly penalty we give ourselves a mountain to climb.
“We didn’t look our usual selves. We didn’t have a spark about us. I told the lads they need to look at themselves first. I’ll go and look at myself. Was there enough passion in my team-talk today? I’ll go through it all.”
The hosts had pieced together an impressive five-game unbeaten run before last Friday night’s slender defeat to Rangers. Killie, in stark contrast, had broken a six-game run without victory last weekend with the backs-to-the-wall win over St Johnstone.
Momentum looked to be with the Highlanders, but Killie have shown a knack of being able to soak up pressure and hit on the break. A burst of pressure after eight minutes led to the opener.
A Rory McKenzie cross from the right shouldn’t have presented too many problems for Inverness but, when home defender Brad McKay clattered into Souleyman Coulibaly, referee Nick Walsh was left with no option but to point to the spot.
Coulibaly struck the kick low to Owain Fon Williams’ right and although the unlucky Welsh international keeper got a strong glove to it, the ball spun into the corner of the net.
Greg Tansey’s rasping attempt from close to 30 yards was also parried by keeper Jamie McDonald with Doumbouya just unable to meet the rebound.
Caley Thistle came tearing out of the traps after the break but Killie looked resolved to resist the surge.
Jake Mulraney’s slack pass, just five minutes into the second half, created danger for Caley Thistle. Tyson surged away on the left of the box and crossed dangerously. Luckily for the Inverness winger, though, Coulibaly headed high over the bar.
The hosts kept fighting for a route back, but their efforts hit a brick wall. Substitute Aaron Doran did his best to inject something after 75 minutes with a fierce 25-yard dig saved down low by MacDonald.
Just when it seemed the match was running away from the hosts, they mustered the leveller with four minutes left.
Carl Tremarco’s delivery from the left was headed back across goal by Doran and Doumbouya bundled the leveller over the line.
Even then, a frantic finish saw Rory McKenzie strike the home post from 20 yards.
“It is so frustrating to lose the goal near the end after being in control for large periods,” a disappointed Lee Clark said. “We started really well, deservedly took the lead and looked impressive going forward.
“Four points from two away games, we’d normally be happy with but we’re frustrated because I felt the team deserved another win.”