Scottish Premiership: Hearts 0-2 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Billy McKay took his goals tally to 15 for the season as he fired Inverness Caledonian Thistle to a win against Hearts at rain-lashed Tynecastle.
Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald produced a first-class save to keep out Aaron Doran's fierce 25-yard strike.
But after the interval John Hughes' men moved up a gear and proved too strong for the basement side.
McKay curled home the opener and slammed home his second with an assured strike seven minutes from time.
Much was made of Hearts' threadbare squad prior to kick-off.
With Ryan Stevenson and Jason Holt joining their injury list, manager Gary Locke said he would have only 12 senior outfield professionals from which to choose for the visit of second-top Inverness, and the game began with two 18-year-olds - Gary Oliver and Sam Nicholson - in maroon shirts.
But Locke's defence looked strong nonetheless, with Danny Wilson and Dylan McGowan flanked by Jamie Hamill and Kevin McHattie.
They fought bravely throughout to repel Caley Thistle whose main absence continues to be playmaker James Vincent as he recovers from a leg fracture.
Hearts had lost as many matches in the Scottish Premiership as Inverness had won and again they were left to rely on team spirit - nine of the their starting XI came through the youth ranks - and youthful exuberance to provide a rare victory.
That served them well for an hour, before McKay made the breakthrough, and thereafter Inverness looked the more dangerous side.
Caley Thistle midfielder Marley Watkins had an effort saved by MacDonald and he supplied most of the forward momentum in their engine room.
His surge from deep in his own half caught out the hosts. He ran 60 yards before passing to Shinnie, whose powerful left-foot strike was diverted wide.
Opportunities for Hearts were a rarity so there was disappointment when a free-kick 20 yards out, the result of a Carl Tremarco foul on striker Callum Paterson, was smashed into the wall. However, Hamill reacted quickly to the loose ball and slapped a shot at Dean Brill's goal from 20 yards.
The only other real chance of note in the first period came from Inverness.
Doran thundered a 25-yard shot at the Hearts goal and MacDonald showed superb athleticism to tip the ball over the bar.
From the corner kick, the ball fell to Shinnie and he smashed a shot a foot wide.
Inverness looked more assured of their superiority in the second half.
In 56 minutes Gary Warren ought to have hit the target but he screwed his shot three yards over the bar from 10 yards.
But there was joy soon for the blue-shirted Highlanders when McKay moved into space in the Hearts box, cut the ball on to his right foot and curled a lovely shot past the despairing MacDonald.
He came close to adding his 15th of the season when he pinged a shot wide and Shinnie suffered the same fate soon after as they pinned Hearts back.
McKay found space between three Hearts players to volley a right-foot shot off the post and, although Callum Tapping gave Brill a fright with a shot 13 minutes from time, Inverness's dominance was underlined when Watkins slid a precise ball through to McKay and he smacked a pin-point left-footed strike into the top corner of the net to guarantee the win.
- 20TappingBooked at 34mins
- 28NicholsonSubstituted forKingat 66'minutes
- 29OliverSubstituted forCarrickat 71'minutes
- 14WalkerSubstituted forSmithat 45'minutes
- 18TremarcoBooked at 42mins
- 9ForanBooked at 45mins
- 15WatkinsBooked at 89minsSubstituted forWilliamsat 90+2'minutes
- 8DraperBooked at 54mins
- 10DoranSubstituted forAgdesteinat 86'minutes
- Brian Colvin
- Shots on Target