Dundee United fought back to draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Premiership.

Ryan Christie headed home Marley Watkins' cross to give the Highlanders an early lead.

Dean Brill made some fine saves to preserve the Inverness lead, denying Nadir Ciftci and Brian Graham.

But United did level when Farid El Alagui bundled home midway through the second half.

The chance of clinching a European place through the league now appears remote for the Tangerines with a six-point gap opened up between them and third-place Motherwell.

However, Jackie McNamara's side can secure a Europa League qualifying berth if they win the Scottish Cup final against St Johnstone.

Ryan Christie scores for Inverness against Dundee United

Christie headed Inverness ahead early in the match

After an energetic start from both sides Caley Thistle opened the scoring with a goal from nowhere.

Watkins found space on the right wing and sent a long looping ball into the box. Ryan Christie, on only his second start for the club, evaded the United defence at the far post and headed it perfectly passed the outstretched Radoslaw Cierniak.

Shortly afterwards Billy McKay had a chance to make it two when he was sent clean through the middle with a long ball but the visiting defence got back to cover.

But Dundee United began to find their stride with two golden opportunities in the space of a minute.

First, Ciftci was through on Brill, who rushed out to make a block.

And that was followed by a surging run from Ryan Dow but again Brill made a crucial block to preserve his side's lead.

McNamara's men started the second half as they had ended the first, putting sustained pressure on the Caley Thistle goal.

But it took time before they found a way through the dogged Inverness defence, who were missing their regular central defenders Gary Warren and Josh Meekings.

Substitute Brian Graham had two decent chances but could not find the desired finish.

When Dundee United did find the break through it was a messy one. There was another scramble in the box from Paul Paton's delivery and the ball eventually fell to sub El Alagui, who smashed it into the the net.

The closing stages were something of an anti-climax with neither side creating many chances and a draw was probably a fair result.

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (5)

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

  • 12 Brill
  • 03 Shinnie
  • 19 Williams
  • 16 Tansey
  • 14 Devine
  • 18 Tremarco
  • 15 Watkins (Polworth - 82' )
  • 08 Draper
  • 07 McKay
  • 36 Christie (Ross - 90' )
  • 10 Doran

Substitutes

  • 01 Esson
  • 11 Ross
  • 20 Polworth
  • 34 Brown
  • 37 Sutherland

Dundee United

  • 01 Cierzniak
  • 12 Watson
  • 26 Robertson
  • 08 Rankin
  • 02 Dillon
  • 05 Gunning
  • 19 Gauld (El Alagui - 67' )
  • 06 Paton
  • 21 Ciftci
  • 11 Mackay-Steven (Graham - 45' )
  • 18 Dow (Connolly - 78' )

Substitutes

  • 09 Graham
  • 16 Wilson
  • 20 Souttar
  • 25 McCallum
  • 27 Gomis
  • 29 El Alagui
  • 39 Connolly
Ref: Brian Colvin
Att: 3,428

Match Stats

Shots

7 17

On target

2 5

Corners

4 3

Fouls

13 11

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Inverness CT 1, Dundee United 1.

90:00 +2:16 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Inverness CT 1, Dundee United 1.

90:00 +1:05

Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United).

90:00 +1:05

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

89:53 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Nick Ross replaces Ryan Christie.

88:32

Attempt missed. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

87:07

Attempt missed. Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

84:57

Attempt missed. Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

84:25

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Carl Tremarco.

83:44

(Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

83:44

Foul by Aaron Doran (Inverness CT).

81:06 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Inverness CT. Liam Polworth replaces Marley Watkins.

80:44

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

80:44

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

77:40 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Aidan Connolly replaces Ryan Dow.

77:13

Attempt missed. Farid El Alagui (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

75:30

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

75:30

Danny Devine (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

74:07

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

73:26

Attempt blocked. Brian Graham (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

72:42

Brian Graham (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

72:42

Foul by Ross Draper (Inverness CT).

70:29 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Inverness CT 1, Dundee United 1. Farid El Alagui (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Sean Dillon.

70:00

Farid El Alagui (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

69:58

Foul by Danny Devine (Inverness CT).

68:36

Attempt saved. Brian Graham (Dundee United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

68:16

Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

68:16

Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).

67:47

Attempt missed. Farid El Alagui (Dundee United) header from the centre of the box is too high.

67:30

Paul Paton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

67:30

Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).

66:08 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Farid El Alagui replaces Ryan Gauld.

65:34

Attempt missed. Brian Graham (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

62:53

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

61:11

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Sean Dillon.

59:54

Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

59:54

Foul by Ryan Christie (Inverness CT).

59:27

Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United).

59:27

Danny Devine (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

59:04

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

56:24

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

56:24

Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

53:33

Attempt saved. Brian Graham (Dundee United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

52:15

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

52:15

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

47:51

Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:51

Foul by Danny Devine (Inverness CT).

47:27

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) left footed shot from more than 35 yards is too high.

46:15

Attempt missed. Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

45:40

Paul Paton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:40

Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).

45:00

Second Half begins Inverness CT 1, Dundee United 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Brian Graham replaces Gary Mackay-Steven because of an injury.

45:00 +0:15 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Inverness CT 1, Dundee United 0.

43:00

Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

42:56

Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United).

41:45

Foul by Ryan Christie (Inverness CT).

41:45

Keith Watson (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

40:10

Attempt missed. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

39:15

Attempt missed. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.

38:44

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Gavin Gunning.

34:52

Attempt blocked. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

34:00

Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

33:59

Foul by Ross Draper (Inverness CT).

32:32

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

32:32

Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

32:05

Foul by Ryan Dow (Dundee United).

32:05

Billy McKay (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

31:08

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

31:08

Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick on the right wing.

28:49

Foul by Ryan Dow (Dundee United).

28:49

Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:11

Attempt saved. Ryan Dow (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

21:16

Attempt saved. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

19:59

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Aaron Doran.

19:21

Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

19:21

Foul by Ross Draper (Inverness CT).

17:34

Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

17:34

Foul by Ryan Christie (Inverness CT).

16:31

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

15:56

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Sean Dillon.

15:40

Attempt blocked. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

13:17

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Gavin Gunning.

9:00

Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

8:58

Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).

6:33 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Inverness CT 1, Dundee United 0. Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marley Watkins.

4:05

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Danny Williams.

0:46

Attempt missed. Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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