Nine-man Inverness exacted League Cup semi-final revenge on Hearts, winning on penalties to set up a first major final against Aberdeen on 16 March.

Greg Tansey's wonderful strike put Inverness ahead but Jamie Hamill scored twice in two minutes for Hearts after Gary Warren was sent off.

Caley Thistle's Josh Meekings also saw red but the Highlanders grabbed an injury-time leveller through Nick Ross.

After a goalless extra-time, Ross Draper netted the crucial spot-kick.

His successful penalty eventually sealed the game, the outcome of which had swung like a pendulum.

Cruelly, Hamill was one of those who missed for Hearts in the shoot-out, Dean Brill saving the midfielder's effort after previously denying new signing Paul McCallum.

Interview - Inverness Caledonian Thistle boss John Hughes

It fulfilled the pre-match feelings of Caley Thistle manager John Hughes, who stated his players had a "glint in their eyes" as they readied themselves for getting their own back against Hearts at Easter Road.

For at the very same stage of the Scottish League Cup competition last season, it was the Tynecastle side who had progressed to the final via spot-kicks.

And seven points from nine in their last three league matches had Hearts feeling confident of coming out on top again.

However, Danny Wilson's third minute jitters almost had his side on the back foot immediately.

The Hearts captain dithered and Billy McKay swooped to cut back for Draper, who scooped over with his right foot when a shot on his left seemed the better option.

That early opportunity was the appetiser for a fast-paced first half not short of bite in the tackle, but one which produced no goals

Hearts midfielder Jamie Hamill is dejected after seeing his penalty saved

Hearts midfielder Jamie Hamill is dejected after seeing his penalty saved

Dale Carrick and Sam Nicholson were the Hearts players giving Inverness goalkeeper Dean Brill most to think about in the opening 45 minutes.

Carrick glanced a header over the crossbar from Dylan McGowan's delivery, while Nicholson's driven shot from 20 yards stung the palms of the Englishman.

But the best opportunity came to McKay close to the half-time whistle.

Already on 18 goals this season, he sneaked goal-side of young defender Brad McKay to latch onto Draper's perfectly curled through ball, only to see Jamie MacDonald beat away the low angled effort which was headed for the far corner.

Inverness took the lead in spectacular fashion soon after the break.

Tansey's second stint with the Highlanders is only 17 days old and he could not have chosen a better way to endear himself to Caley Thistle fans once again - he thumped the ball into MacDonald's right-hand corner when the ball broke to him 20 yards out.

Hearts rallied and Brill had already made a fantastic save from Callum Paterson before the game turned on 66 minutes.

Interview - Hearts boss Gary Locke

Warren, one of those yellow carded in the first half, was deemed guilty of another after a tangle with Nicholson on the edge of the box.

Hughes' rage at the debatable sending-off was compounded when a well-worked Hearts free-kick brought the equaliser.

Ryan Stevenson, on as a substitute, cleverly rolled the ball to Hamill, whose relatively tame effort deflected off the foot of Draper and into the bottom corner.

Two minutes later Hearts were in front via another Hamill set-piece and there was no fluke about this one. Carrick won a free-kick when fouled by Josh Meekings, leaving Hamill to curl wonderfully into Brill's top left corner.

Meekings' bullet header almost restored parity for Inverness but MacDonald saved well, and the Caley Thistle defender's next major piece of action was getting sent off for a crude foul on Scott Robinson.

So Hearts found themselves in pole position for a place in the final, but there was to be another twist in the fifth minute of injury time when a tactical gamble by Hughes paid off.

Inverness manager John Hughes celebrates after his side reach their first major domestic final

Inverness manager John Hughes celebrates after his side reach their first major domestic final

He had thrown on Ross in place of David Raven and the midfielder dramatically ensured the game went to extra-time, firing home from the angle at the second attempt from close range despite MacDonald's best efforts.

Hearts piled on the pressure in extra-time and despite a couple of goalmouth scrambles, the nine men of Caley Thistle managed to prevent their goalmouth being breached.

Hughes' charges even tried snatching it themselves and had McKay and Ross go close to nicking a winner.

In the penalty shoot-out, Inverness's Graeme Shinnie and Hearts' McCallum failed to convert the opening kicks.

But Caley Thistle would not miss again, with Billy McKay, Ross, Tansey and Draper scoring to capitalise on Hamill's miss.

Lineup, Bookings (9) & Substitutions (6)

Heart of Midlothian

  • 01 MacDonald Booked
  • 16 McKay Booked
  • 03 McHattie
  • 02 Hamill
  • 05 McGowan (McCallum - 64' )
  • 04 Wilson
  • 17 Smith (Stevenson - 45' )
  • 08 Robinson Booked
  • 18 Carrick
  • 12 Paterson Booked
  • 28 Nicholson (Tapping - 85' )

Substitutes

  • 07 Stevenson
  • 09 McCallum
  • 13 Ridgers
  • 20 Tapping
  • 30 McGhee

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

  • 12 Brill
  • 02 Raven (Ross - 87' )
  • 03 Shinnie Booked
  • 04 Vincent (Tremarco - 90' )
  • 05 Warren Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 06 Meekings Dismissed
  • 15 Watkins Booked
  • 16 Tansey
  • 07 McKay
  • 08 Draper
  • 10 Doran (Devine - 69' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Esson
  • 11 Ross
  • 14 Devine
  • 18 Tremarco
  • 19 Williams
Ref: John Beaton
Att: 12,762

Match Stats

Shots

14 21

On target

5 11

Corners

6 8

Fouls

21 23

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Hearts 2(2), Inverness CT 2(4).

120:00 +10:31

Penalty Shootout ends, Hearts 2(2), Inverness CT 2(4).

120:00 +4:45 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 2(2), Inverness CT 2(4). Ross Draper (Inverness CT) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

120:00 +4:15 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 2(2), Inverness CT 2(3). Scott Robinson (Hearts) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

120:00 +3:45 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 2(1), Inverness CT 2(3). Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

120:00 +2:45

Penalty saved! Jamie Hamill (Hearts) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.

120:00 +2:15 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 2(1), Inverness CT 2(2). Nick Ross (Inverness CT) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

120:00 +1:45 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 2(1), Inverness CT 2(1). Dale Carrick (Hearts) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

120:00 +1:15 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 2, Inverness CT 2(1). Billy McKay (Inverness CT) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

120:00 +0:45

Penalty saved! Paul McCallum (Hearts) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom right corner.

120:00 +0:05

Penalty saved! Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, left footed shot saved in the top left corner.

120:00 Penalty shootout

Penalty Shootout begins Hearts 2, Inverness CT 2.

120:00 +1:15

Second Half Extra Time ends, Hearts 2, Inverness CT 2.

117:39

Attempt missed. Paul McCallum (Hearts) header from the left side of the six yard box is high and wide to the right.

116:23 Booking

Booking Brad McKay (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

116:17

Foul by Brad McKay (Hearts).

116:17

Billy McKay (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the right wing.

116:00

Attempt blocked. Jamie Hamill (Hearts) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

114:10

Attempt missed. Callum Paterson (Hearts) header from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

113:34

Dale Carrick (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

113:34

Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).

113:15

Attempt missed. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

111:51

Hand ball by Callum Tapping (Hearts).

107:41

Attempt missed. Jamie Hamill (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

107:22

Attempt saved. Nick Ross (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

105:00

Second Half Extra Time begins Hearts 2, Inverness CT 2.

105:04

First Half Extra Time ends, Hearts 2, Inverness CT 2.

104:34

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) wins a free kick on the right wing.

104:34

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT).

102:48 Booking

Booking Callum Paterson (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

102:43

Foul by Callum Paterson (Hearts).

102:43

Nick Ross (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

102:23

Foul by Callum Tapping (Hearts).

102:23

Ross Draper (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

99:11

Jamie Hamill (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

99:11

Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).

98:40

Attempt missed. Brad McKay (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is too high.

98:22

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Carl Tremarco.

97:45

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Marley Watkins.

95:52

Foul by Kevin McHattie (Hearts).

95:52

Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

94:23

Attempt blocked. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

92:13

Foul by Paul McCallum (Hearts).

92:13

Ross Draper (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:34

Attempt saved. Paul McCallum (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

90:00

First Half Extra Time begins Hearts 2, Inverness CT 2.

90:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Carl Tremarco replaces James Vincent.

90:00 +5:41 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Hearts 2, Inverness CT 2.

90:00 +4:21 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 2, Inverness CT 2. Nick Ross (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the top right corner.

90:00 +3:04

Attempt saved. Danny Devine (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

90:00 +2:37

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Hearts).

90:00 +2:37

Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +1:59

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

90:00 +1:29 Dismissal

Dismissal Josh Meekings (Inverness CT) is shown the red card.

90:00 +1:25

Scott Robinson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +1:25

Foul by Josh Meekings (Inverness CT).

90:00 +1:02 Booking

Booking Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +0:51

Scott Robinson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +0:51

Foul by Josh Meekings (Inverness CT).

88:37

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

88:37

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT).

88:06

Attempt saved. Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

86:52 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Nick Ross replaces David Raven.

86:16

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Josh Meekings.

86:07

Attempt blocked. Callum Paterson (Hearts) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

84:12 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Callum Tapping replaces Sam Nicholson because of an injury.

80:15

Foul by Ryan Stevenson (Hearts).

80:15

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.

79:15

Foul by Callum Paterson (Hearts).

79:15

Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the right wing.

75:32

Danny Wilson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

75:32

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

73:39

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

73:28

Attempt saved. Josh Meekings (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

73:06

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Dale Carrick.

71:11

Attempt saved. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

69:28 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 2, Inverness CT 1. Jamie Hamill (Hearts) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top right corner.

68:44

Dale Carrick (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

68:44

Foul by Josh Meekings (Inverness CT).

68:05 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Danny Devine replaces Aaron Doran.

67:05 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 1, Inverness CT 1. Jamie Hamill (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner following a set piece situation.

65:33 Dismissal

Dismissal Second yellow card to Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

65:28

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

65:28

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

63:56

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by David Raven.

63:39 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Paul McCallum replaces Dylan McGowan.

62:12

Attempt missed. Brad McKay (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

62:01

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by David Raven.

61:41

Attempt saved. Callum Paterson (Hearts) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

60:36

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) wins a free kick on the left wing.

60:36

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT).

59:22

Attempt saved. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

59:00

Scott Robinson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

58:51

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

57:04

Kevin McHattie (Hearts) wins a free kick on the right wing.

57:04

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

56:41

Foul by Sam Nicholson (Hearts).

56:41

Gary Warren (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.

55:22 Booking

Booking Jamie MacDonald (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

53:30 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 0, Inverness CT 1. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.

49:46

Foul by Sam Nicholson (Hearts).

49:46

Gary Warren (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.

47:15

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Dale Carrick.

46:38

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Kevin McHattie.

45:00

Second Half begins Hearts 0, Inverness CT 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Ryan Stevenson replaces David Smith.

45:00 +0:05 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Hearts 0, Inverness CT 0.

44:29

Billy McKay (Inverness CT) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box.

43:40

Dale Carrick (Hearts) wins a free kick on the right wing.

43:40

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

42:26

Foul by Callum Paterson (Hearts).

42:26

Josh Meekings (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

40:52

Attempt missed. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

40:22

Attempt saved. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

39:12

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

39:12

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

36:55

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Jamie Hamill.

36:39

Attempt blocked. Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

34:53

Foul by Dylan McGowan (Hearts).

34:53

Gary Warren (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

34:29 Booking

Booking Gary Warren (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

34:24

Jamie Hamill (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

34:24

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

33:46

Attempt saved. Sam Nicholson (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

32:05 Booking

Booking Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card.

32:00

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:59

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

31:00

Foul by Ross Draper (Inverness CT).

31:00

Scott Robinson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

30:16

Attempt missed. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

29:25

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29:25

Foul by Dale Carrick (Hearts).

28:41

Gary Warren (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.

28:41

Foul by Callum Paterson (Hearts).

28:04

Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:04

Foul by Dylan McGowan (Hearts).

24:18

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT).

24:18

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:00

Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).

23:00

Brad McKay (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

21:06

Foul by Ross Draper (Inverness CT).

21:06

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19:46

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

19:46

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

19:25

Attempt missed. Gary Warren (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.

18:48

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Danny Wilson.

16:53

Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.

16:53

Foul by Kevin McHattie (Hearts).

14:09

Attempt missed. Dale Carrick (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is too high.

13:32

Foul by David Raven (Inverness CT).

13:32

Dale Carrick (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:51

Attempt missed. Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right.

11:44

Attempt missed. Ross Draper (Inverness CT) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.

10:55

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

10:34

Attempt saved. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

8:46

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

8:46

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

8:10

Attempt saved. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

7:43

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Dylan McGowan.

6:49

Attempt missed. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

5:37 Booking

Booking Scott Robinson (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

5:23

Billy McKay (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the left wing.

5:23

Foul by Scott Robinson (Hearts).

3:53

Ross Draper (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

3:53

Foul by Dale Carrick (Hearts).

3:02

Ross Draper (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

3:02

Foul by Dale Carrick (Hearts).

2:19

Attempt missed. Ross Draper (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left.

1:27

Josh Meekings (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

1:27

Foul by Callum Paterson (Hearts).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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