Pressure may have played a part but the fact there was so little football played here was inexcusable; no wonder only 94 supporters chose to travel down to Ayrshire to watch this ultra-cautious display from their side.
Caley Thistle’s Carl Tremarco had the first attempt on target in the 19th minute but Jamie MacDonald was equal to the full-back’s angled drive, and Inverness were disadvantaged when they lost lone striker Lonsana Doumbouya to injury soon after.
Kilmarnock had an appeal for a penalty erroneously rejected when Brad McKay handled a Jordan Jones cross.
The central defender stood between the Highlanders and humiliation and he performed heroics again in the 43rd minute when he sprinted back to make an acrobatic goal-line clearance after Nathan Tyson had chipped Owain Fon Williams from Greg Taylor’s through ball.
McKay was unable to continue after the break, replaced by Liam Polworth, but Inverness remained as cautious as before and continued to waste time at every opportunity.
Inverness’s Lewis Horner also had his afternoon prematurely ended by injury when he was replaced by Billy King in the 53rd minute and Alex Fisher, who had replaced Doumbouya, squandered the best chance of the game immediately afterwards, dragging his shot wide from 12 yards.
Gary Warren had a header from Iain Vigurs’ corner comfortably saved by MacDonald before Souleymane Coulibaly, pictured, pounced.
Steven Smith claimed the assist with an inch-perfect 40-yard pass and the Ivorian beat Polworth on the outside, cut back inside and then sent an Exocet of a shot high past Fon Williams from a tight angle.
But the hosts conceded a sloppy equaliser when Greg Tansey’s free-kick was allowed to travel a long way to the far post, where Gary Warren’s downward header beat MacDonald.