A Marius Zaliukas penalty ensured financially-troubled Hearts shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Inverness.
The visiting captain's spot-kick in the 90th minute cancelled out Owain Tudur Jones' 30-yard thunderbolt opener, which came in the 19th minute at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
The draw extended Inverness's unbeaten run to 10 games in all competitions. It is likely to do little to ease the the woes of Hearts, who might have played their last away game if the club succumbs to a winding-up order over a tax bill of almost £450,000.
The visitors made two changes to the side which lost 1-0 at Dundee with Ryan Stevenson and Jason Holt in for John Sutton, who was dropped to the bench, while Scott Robinson was not included in the squad. Richie Foran was restored to Caley Thistle's starting line-up in place of Ross Draper, who failed to overcome an ankle injury.
Inverness started brightly with top scorer Andrew Shinnie connecting acrobatically with an Aaron Doran cross to volley the ball on target only to be denied by diving Hearts keeper Jamie MacDonald.
The visitors responded with Stevenson forcing Antonio Reguero into his first save on the quarter-hour mark, but four minutes later Inverness took the lead through a 30-yard rocket from Tudur Jones. The Welshman hammered the ball past MacDonald for his first goal of the season after a lay off from Andrew Shinnie.
Inverness might have added a second on the half-hour when Billy McKay ghosted through the Hearts defence, but the striker's low shot went just wide. Stevenson produced a low shot from distance which was easily saved by Reguero as Hearts tried to get back into the game.
MacDonald pulled off another diving save to thwart Inverness seconds before half-time, keeping out a 20-yard effort from Foran. Andrew Shinnie might have put Caley further ahead 10 minutes after the restart but MacDonald was equal to the attacker in a one-on-one situation.
The ball rebounded to Tudur Jones but his shot was blocked by Zaliukas. Stevenson remained Hearts' most dangerous player and had two shots from the edge of the area blocked by Inverness centre-back Gary Warren.
Zaliukas lashed a long-range shot wide as Hearts tried to find a foothold. The pressure paid off when referee Willie Collum awarded the penalty after Callum Paterson appeared to be fouled in a crowded area, and Zaliukas scored the 90th-minute leveller from the spot.
- Sports & Recreation
- Owain Tudur Jones
- Andrew Shinnie
- Marius Zaliukas
- Ryan Stevenson