Billy McKay's lobbed winner at Kilmarnock re-established Inverness Caley Thistle's three-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

August's player of the month, Richie Foran, headed the visitors into an early lead at Rugby Park.

Killie levelled in an unusual manner when Barry Nicholson diverted Graeme Shinnie's clearance into the net.

But McKay replied with his sixth goal of the campaign, leaving Kilmarnock winless in seven games this season.

Due to Hearts' points deduction and St Mirren's struggle to find form, Allan Johnston's side remain 10th, but they will be desperate to take something from next weekend's match at Partick Thistle.

In comparison, Terry Butcher's Inverness have won five and drawn one of their six Premiership games.

Richie Foran scores

Richie Foran nets Inverness's first by nodding in Aaron Doran's cross

The price McKay pays for having been so effective and prolific over the past two seasons is that onlookers begin to set higher and higher standards for him.

Therefore, a first-half volley the Northern Irishman screwed wide from Doran's deep cross was met with sighs that, on reflection, were maybe a tad harsh.

However, his winner, which came minutes after Kilmarnock had hauled themselves back into the contest, was taken coolly and lethally, as has become his trademark.

The Northern Irishman did not look overly pleased after his neat lob over Craig Samson following a long ball from Josh Meekings, but he should have been.

It says a lot for McKay that, when he's not the player sticking the ball in the back of the net, he often plays a large part in creating goal-scoring chances for others.

Caley Thistle's early opener at Rugby Park only came about because the 5ft 7in striker rose to win a header in a crowded Kilmarnock penalty area, knocking it to Aaron Doran, who in turn side-footed across goal for Foran to head home from two yards.

Being booed off at half-time had the hosts hurting and they had restored parity early in the second half in what was only Killie's fifth goal of the campaign.

It came from the foot of midfielder Nicholson but in far more bizarre fashion than his screamer against Hibernian in August.

Inverness full-back Shinnie's sliding clearance from substitute Rabiu Ibrahim's through-ball cannoned off Nicholson in wacky fashion and found the bottom corner of Brill's net.

The unorthodox goal did not reap any rewards in terms of points for Johnston's men, but there were encouraging signs.

Michael Gardyne swapped Tayside for Ayrshire on a loan deal prior to transfer deadline day in his quest for regular playing time.

This was his first Killie start and his eagerness to spruce up a forward line that has only netted four times this season was clear to see.

He seriously worked Inverness goalkeeper Dean Brill midway through the first-half with a low left-foot strike from 20 yards that the on-loan Luton stopper did well to turn round the post.

On another occasion, the 27-year-old forward ought to have done better from Kris Boyd's cut-back but allowed Brill to watch it sail over.

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (5)

Kilmarnock

  • 01 Samson
  • 02 Tesselaar
  • 05 Irvine
  • 16 Clohessy
  • 23 McKeown
  • 04 Fowler (Pascali - 70' Booked )
  • 07 Nicholson
  • 11 Gross (Ibrahim - 46' )
  • 20 Jacobs (Stewart - 76' )
  • 09 Boyd
  • 25 Gardyne

Substitutes

  • 12 Reguero
  • 26 O'Hara
  • 19 Ibrahim
  • 22 Stewart
  • 29 Pascali
  • 30 Ashcroft
  • 40 Pooler

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

  • 12 Brill
  • 02 Raven
  • 03 Shinnie Booked
  • 05 Warren
  • 06 Meekings
  • 04 Vincent (Williams - 82' )
  • 08 Draper
  • 09 Foran
  • 10 Doran
  • 11 Ross
  • 07 McKay (Agdestein - 86' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Esson
  • 14 Devine
  • 18 Tremarco
  • 17 Greenhalgh
  • 19 Williams
  • 20 Polworth
  • 23 Agdestein
Ref: Mclean
Att: 3,063

Match Stats

Shots

7 7

On target

4 3

Corners

7 4

Fouls

9 14

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:14 Full time

Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.

90:00 +0:05

Craig Samson takes the free kick.

89:51

The referee blows for offside against Torbjorn Agdestein.

89:28

Free kick taken by Craig Samson.

89:21

Torbjorn Agdestein challenges Jackson Irvine unfairly and gives away a free kick.

88:08

Corner taken by Aaron Doran.

86:43 Booking

Booking

86:43

Booking for Graeme Shinnie for unsporting behaviour.

86:10

Corner taken by Barry Nicholson from the right by-line.

85:14 Substitution

Substitution Torbjorn Agdestein is brought on as a substitute for Billy McKay.

81:57

Rabiu Ibrahim restarts play with the free kick.

81:47

Foul by Aaron Doran on Rabiu Ibrahim, free kick awarded.

81:20 Substitution

Substitution James Vincent goes off and Danny Williams comes on.

79:35

Corner from the left by-line taken by Barry Nicholson.

78:55

Shot by Kris Boyd.

76:52

Free kick crossed by Aaron Doran.

76:40 Booking

Booking

76:40

Booking for Manuel Pascali.

76:34

Nick Ross fouled by Manuel Pascali, the ref awards a free kick.

75:07 Substitution

Substitution Mark Stewart on for Kyle Jacobs.

73:47

Free kick taken by Aaron Doran.

73:22

Manuel Pascali gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Billy McKay.

72:25

Free kick taken by Dean Brill.

72:14

Free kick awarded for a foul by Barry Nicholson on Richie Foran.

70:58

Jackson Irvine restarts play with the free kick.

70:45

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Manuel Pascali by Richie Foran.

70:16

Free kick taken by Dean Brill.

70:10

Kris Boyd is caught offside.

69:37

Free kick crossed by Rory McKeown.

69:20 Substitution

Substitution James Fowler leaves the field to be replaced by Manuel Pascali.

68:50

Foul by Aaron Doran on Rabiu Ibrahim, free kick awarded.

68:21

Free kick taken by Barry Nicholson.

68:15

Graeme Shinnie concedes a free kick for a foul on Barry Nicholson.

63:15

Sean Clohessy restarts play with the free kick.

62:54

Unfair challenge on Sean Clohessy by Richie Foran results in a free kick.

61:28

Corner from the left by-line taken by Barry Nicholson.

61:06

Corner from the right by-line taken by Barry Nicholson.

60:38

Free kick crossed by Barry Nicholson.

60:31

Richie Foran gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rabiu Ibrahim.

58:56

Corner taken by Graeme Shinnie.

55:20 Goal scored

Goal! - Billy McKay - Kilmarnock 1 - 2 Inverness Billy McKay scores with a left foot finish. Kilmarnock 1-2 Inverness CT.

50:49

Assist by Rabiu Ibrahim.

50:49 Goal scored

Goal! - Barry Nicholson - Kilmarnock 1 - 1 Inverness Barry Nicholson scores with a left foot finish. Kilmarnock 1-1 Inverness CT.

49:49

Free kick taken by Josh Meekings.

49:42

Foul by Rabiu Ibrahim on James Vincent, free kick awarded.

47:03

Shot by Michael Gardyne cleared the bar.

46:45

Free kick taken by Craig Samson.

46:39

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jeroen Tesselaar by James Vincent.

45:01

The second half has started.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution (Kilmarnock) makes a substitution, with Rabiu Ibrahim coming on for William Gros.

45:00 +0:07 Half time

Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.

41:10

Shot by Aaron Doran missed to the right of the target.

40:46

David Raven crosses the ball in from the free kick.

40:32

William Gros gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Raven.

38:54

Billy McKay takes a shot and went wide of the left-hand upright.

35:49

Free kick taken by Jeroen Tesselaar.

35:26

Gary Warren concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Gardyne.

33:56

Dean Brill takes the free kick.

33:45

Michael Gardyne challenges David Raven unfairly and gives away a free kick.

33:19

Corner taken by Barry Nicholson.

32:49

Michael Gardyne takes a shot.

32:18

Free kick taken by Jackson Irvine.

32:02

The assistant referee flags for offside against Aaron Doran.

31:37

Free kick taken by Jackson Irvine.

31:13

Free kick awarded for a foul by David Raven on William Gros.

29:44

William Gros has an effort at goal. Dean Brill safely holds on.

29:09

Craig Samson restarts play with the free kick.

28:45

Foul by Gary Warren on Jackson Irvine, free kick awarded.

28:25

Corner taken by Graeme Shinnie.

27:56

Gary Warren takes the chance to get an effort at goal.

27:23

Corner from the right by-line taken by Graeme Shinnie.

24:43

Free kick taken by Craig Samson.

24:38

The offside flag is raised against James Vincent.

22:34

Jackson Irvine restarts play with the free kick.

22:27

Richie Foran concedes a free kick for a foul on James Fowler.

19:44

Josh Meekings restarts play with the free kick.

19:37

Michael Gardyne challenges Gary Warren unfairly and gives away a free kick.

18:53

Header by William Gros goes to the left of the goal.

18:40

Corner taken by Barry Nicholson.

17:06

Billy McKay has an effort at goal.

15:58

Free kick taken by Graeme Shinnie.

15:27

Graeme Shinnie fouled by Jackson Irvine, the ref awards a free kick.

12:27

Jackson Irvine restarts play with the free kick.

12:05

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Michael Gardyne by Ross Draper.

10:26

Aaron Doran takes a shot and cleared the goal.

10:05

Corner taken by Barry Nicholson.

9:44

Barry Nicholson takes the free kick.

9:33

Unfair challenge on Barry Nicholson by Ross Draper results in a free kick.

8:10

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Warren by Kris Boyd.

7:36

Michael Gardyne has an effort at goal and missed to the left of the goal.

5:56

The assist for the goal came from Nick Ross.

5:56 Goal scored

Goal! - Richie Foran - Kilmarnock 0 - 1 Inverness Richie Foran grabs a goal with a headed effort. Kilmarnock 0-1 Inverness CT.

0:00

The referee gets the game started.

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