IT WAS perhaps no surprise to witness their late collapse. With only seconds left, Inverness lost their nerve and so too any hopes of achieving their first league win as they left Dens Park deflated at throwing away their lead in such painful fashion.
John Hughes’ side seemed almost certain to finally end their barren run at the sixth attempt, only for Kane Hemmings to score an injury-time equaliser which cancelled out David Raven’s splendid 60th-minute opener for the winless Highlanders.
It was tough on the visitors for whom Owain Fon-Williams, their impressive Welsh keeper, saved Greg Stewart’s 83rd-minute penalty prior to Hemmings’ strike with almost the last kick of the ball, before Andrea Mutombo, the Inverness attacker, was red-carded right at the death to compound their early-season misery.
“It would have been great for the boys to hold out but that’s what football does to you,” sighed Hughes, while also confirming Celtic had tabled an official bid for their 20-year-old forward, Ryan Christie.
“I feel for the boys having put so much into the game. It’s bitterly disappointing. As for Ryan, all credit to him or getting on with it. There’s a lot going on just now but we just have to keep him away from it all.
“There’s certainly been a bid put in by Celtic and you can see why a club like that are interested.”
Much of the pre-match talk surrounded Christie whose promptings helped the visitors make such a bright start, which included Mutombo’s free header from Raven’s cross early on which flashed past Dundee keeper Scott Bain’s right-hand post.
Soon after, Caley Thistle created a clear-cut chance to take the lead. Iain Vigurs worked a neat one-two with Raven and finished with a right-foot shot which went just inches wide of the target.
Inverness were on the attack again in 43 minutes when Ross Draper tried his luck with a shot from 25 yards which was turned round the post by Bain for a corner. But, in 60 minutes, justice was done as they took their deserved lead.
A slick move down the left set up Mutombo whose cross eluded the entire Dundee defence and Raven, known more for his defensive qualities, was lurking to curl a fine left-foot shot into Bain’s far corner.
It was no more than they merited although they had keeper Fon-Williams to thank for keeping them ahead two minutes later as he parried away Paul McGowan’s fierce 23-yard shot.
Then, with seven minutes left, Stewart’s standard cross was handled inside the box by Daniel Devine who was under no real pressure.
Up stepped Stewart to take the spot-kick but Fon-Williams dived low to his left to save to keep the visitors in front, only until injury-time though when Hemmings levelled, running onto Paul McGinn’s long through ball to calmly finish past Fon-Williams, prior to Mutombo’s moment of madness which earned him a straight red-card for a shocking lunge on Nick Ross.
“We hung in there,” reflected Paul Hartley, the Dundee manager. “Greg missed the penalty but he’s won us games before. We kept going right to the end which is the most pleasing thing. Their player could have been sent off at the penalty but we’re not here to criticise referees.”
Dundee: Bain, McGinn, Konrad (Meggatt 67), McPake, Irvine (Carreiro 75), McGowan, Thomson, Ross, Low, Stewart, Hemmings
ICT: Fon Williams, Raven, Draper, Devine, Tremarco, Tansey, Vigurs (Wedderburn 82), Mbuyi-Mutombo, Christie, Williams, Lopez Robles
Referee: A Dallass. Attendance: 4,767