INVERNESS Caledonian Thistle recorded their first win at Tynecastle in over five years thanks to defender Gary Warren’s headed double and an opportunistic strike by Billy McKay.
Scorers: Hearts - Holt (55), Webster (74); Inverness - Warren (16, 77), McKay (62)
Referee: Bobby Madden.
The result consigned Hearts to their third successive league defeat and the home support vented their frustrations with a chorus of boos at full-time.
Not since December 2007 had the Highlanders won in Gorgie, a match which ironically also ended with a 3-2 scoreline. This game was no less entertaining. Warren headed the opener before a superb equaliser from Jason Holt in the second half. McKay restored Inverness’ advantage from close range before Webster prised a second leveller for Hearts. However, Warren’s straightforward header from a corner 13 mintues from time secured victory.
Set-pieces proved to be the order of the day, with four of the five goals coming as a result of free-kicks or corners. Hearts failed to defend balls into their box all too often and, ultimately, paid the price.
There was a moment of controversy after only ten seconds when the Hearts forward Michael Ngoo was cautioned for shoving Warren. The Englishman lifted both hands to push his opponent in the chest and, on another day, may have been ordered off.
Inverness opened the scoring from a set-piece on 16 minutes. After Andy Webster’s needless foul and Aaron Doran, the Northern Irishman curled the resultant free-kick towards Warren for a downward header into Jamie MacDonald’s net from around eight yards.
Minutes later, Owain Tudur-Jones dispatched a ferocious free-kick narrowly wide of target. Hearts seemed to be lacking in confidence somewhat and ceded possesion all too often in the first period. Inverness enjoyed better movement in attack with a two-man forward line of McKay and Doran, compared with Ngoo often being left to plough a lone furrow through the middle for the hosts.
A glaring chance to equalise was passed up by Darren Barr early in the second half. Arvydas Novikovas angled a free-kick to the back post but the unmarked Barr could not connect with the ball around five yards from goal. Danny Wilson’s last-minute challenge denied Doran a shot at goal in the 54th minute as he threatened to sprint clear.
Holt then produced a moment of individual brilliance to haul Hearts level. Collecting Barr’s square pass outside the visitors’ penalty area, the midfielder shimmied to his right and drove a powerful right-footed effort beyond Ryan Esson.
The lead lasted only seven minutes until McKay plundered a second goal for Inverness, and again it stemmed from a set-piece. David Raven hoisted a free-kick deep into the Hearts penalty area which Tudur-Jones headed across goal, and McKay bundled the ball into the net at the back post despite the attentions of Callum Tapping.
Hearts then introduced John Sutton to partner Ngoo and instantly looked more dangerous. Ngoo’s header from a corner was cleared off the goal line by Nick Ross, but Andy Webster planted the loose ball in the net via a deflection. Having restored parity again at 2-2, manager John McGlynn would have expected his team to hold firm. However, they conceded a third goal just moments later.
Graeme Shinnie’s corner prompted a towering header from Warren, who claimed his second of the game with MacDonald left helpless. Another set-piece had brought another goal in a game not blessed with great quality but never short on entertainment. This time it proved to be decisive. Substitute Shane Sutherland shot high into the Roseburn Stand when one on one with MacDonald in stoppage-time, but it mattered little as granted Inverness celebrated rare victory in Gorgie.
Hearts (4-3-3): MacDonald; Mullen (Sutton 65), Webster, Wilson, McHattie; Tapping, Barr, Holt; Walker (Smith 87), Ngoo, Novikovas (King 73). Subs: Ridgers, Taouil, Prychynenko, McGowan.
Inverness (4-1-3-2): Esson; Raven, Devine, Warren, G Shinnie; Tudur-Jones; Draper, A Shinnie, Ross; Doran (Taylor 90), McKay (Sutherland 79). Subs: Reguero, Laing, Polworth, Pepper, Gibbons.