It was the day that had to come sometime - Inverness Caledonian Thistle failing to score in a match for the first time this season.

Yet it was a match that entertained despite the blank scoreline.

Goalkeepers Antonio Reguero and Alan Mannus were both in fine form, while Saints' David McCracken had an effort cleared off the line.

But Caley Thistle at least had the consolation of moving a point closer to beaten leaders Celtic.

The Scottish Premier League's second-top side failing to score by full-time had looked an unlikely scenario after only seven minutes.

Billy McKay curled a low shot wide then, five minutes later, Andrew Shinnie's shimmie put him clear to move in on goal, but Mannus came out quickly to block.

Saints' first test of Reguero came after 16 minutes, a well struck free-kick by Liam Craig from 30 yards out being fisted away by the Inverness goalkeeper.

The home side, without a win in five Scottish Premier League matches were second best at the start of the game, but they had worked their way into the match to make it an even contest.

It was no surprise when they almost took the lead three minutes from half-time.

Liam Craig's dangerous corner was met by McCracken, but the defender's header was cleared off the line.

And, in the follow-up, Paddy Cregg was booked for simulation while trying to convince the referee that he had been fouled.

Caley Thistle, who have scored in every game this season, then tried to ink their name onto the scoresheet prior to the interval, first through Aaron Doran and then by Graeme Shinnie.

But, on both occasions, Mannus was alert to keep them out.

The second half did not have the pace of the first, but Saints finishing the stronger and Caley Thistle ended the game with their three top scorers having been substituted.

Gregory Tade has four goals this season and he had the best of the opportunities, two through his own creation, but Regeuro was his equal, much to the frustration of the home support.

Both defences have had their problems at times this season, but their displays will have heartened their managers.

St Johnstone's Steve Lomas will be frustrated that their failure in front of goal continues to cost them points.

Meanwhile, Terry Butcher will be content to see his Caley Thistle side stretch their unbeaten SPL run to seven games.

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