INVERNESS twice came from behind to hold on to second place in the SPL.
Inverness CT - A Shinnie (38), Foran (67)
St Mirren - Imrie (2), Thompson (55)
Referee: W Collum
Injuries and suspensions left St Mirren boss Danny Lennon a player short on the substitutes bench but the Paisley men scored after just 76 seconds after a lightning three-man move started by Stephen Thompson.
Dougie Imrie finished it off with a low shot from 18 yards after Paul McGowan had played his part as the link man.
Inverness recovered quickly and Owain Tudur Jones almost snatched an equaliser with a snap-shot from 25 yards in the 18th minute.
But St Mirren nearly increased their lead after 21 minutes when Graham Carey’s fiercely struck free-kick from 25 yards cannoned off the bar.
Inverness returned to the offensive and top-scorer Billy McKay was denied his 19th goal of the season when Craig Samson made an outstanding save to block the striker’s point-blank header.
But the keeper was unable to stop Shinnie’s strike drawing Inverness level after 38 minutes. McKay played a pass to the midfielder and Shinnie cut inside before looking up quickly to pick his spot and drove the ball in the top right-hand corner from 25 yards.
Inverness began the second- half encouragingly but McKay shot weakly wide from close range with only Samson to beat and it turned out to be a costly miss when Thompson restored St Mirren’s advantage ten minutes after the restart, heading home Gary Teale’s cross from close in. But, after 67 minutes, Aaron Doran lashed in a powerful shot, Samson could only push the ball into the air and Richie Foran was able to head past him from close range.
Inverness had lost just once in their previous 18 matches in all competitions and yesterday took their goal tally to 44, two more than their entire haul in 2011-12. With that confidence behind the home side Saints looked increasingly fragile and Samson had to pull off an outstanding one-handed save to block Andrew Shinnie’s effort in the 69th minute.
But St Mirren very nearly snatched a dramatic late victory when substitute Lewis Guy hit the post and then the crossbar in quick succession.
Inverness CT: Reguero, Raven, Graeme Shinnie, Cooper, Warren, Doran, Andrew Shinnie, Draper, Tudur Jones, Foran, McKay (Roberts 84). Subs not used: Mathieson, Sutherland, Morrison, Laing, Polworth, Pepper.
St Mirren: Samson, Barron, McGinn, van Zanten, Mair, Imrie, Teale, Robertson, Carey, McGowan (Guy 66), Thompson. Subs not used: Chris Smith, Parkin, Kelly, Yaqub, Brady.