Inverness CT 2-0 Hearts

Inverness remain top of the Scottish Premiership following a convincing victory over 10-man Hearts.

A first-half double from Billy McKay ensured Terry Butcher's men took the three points.

McKay could have scored more as he missed from the penalty spot following Jamie Hamill's dismissal in the second half for deliberate handball.

The hosts should have added to their victory with McKay, Richie Foran and James Vincent coming close.

Despite it being top versus bottom in the SPFL encounter the message given to the hosts beforehand would have been that looks can be deceiving.

Although Gary Locke's men are marooned at the bottom of the table, they have made a promising start, making inroads into their 15-point administration deficit, having gone three games unbeaten since their opening day defeat to St Johnstone.

But Caley Thistle were intent on putting up blockades to stop them chipping further away at their penalty, with McKay a constant nuisance to the visitors, who should have had a hat-trick at least and Hearts' cause was not helped by Hamill's late sending off.

Inverness had made the gesture of donating £5 to the Hearts supporters' fighting fund for every ticket sold over the average away support attendance of 650 before the game, however, their play was much less charitable as confidence oozed through the team from their own sizzling start to the season.

After a bright start by Hearts, with Jamie Walker having a half-chance - dragging his shot wide - Butcher's men took the lead through McKay as he rifled the ball past Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald after excellent build-up play by David Raven.

Locke's side, though, have exhibited a determination and indefatigable spirit this campaign and it was typified by the way Callum Paterson battled hard down the wing before Walker once again attempted to beat goalkeeper Dean Brill from the angle.

However, Inverness are top of the league on merit and they put a massive dent into Hearts' hopes of grabbing anything from the match when McKay doubled their lead, clinically, curling a shot past MacDonald from a Vincent pass on a ruthless Thistle counter-attack.

Hearts were close to getting themselves back into the game shortly before half-time as Walker rattled the post after sloppy play by Caley Thistle defender Graeme Shinnie.

Inverness defender Gary Warren threatened to compound Hearts' problems when his header cannoned off the crossbar before McKay came close to the hat-trick twice in quick succession.

Foran then powered a 30-yard drive bringing out the best in shot-stopper MacDonald as Inverness continued to pile pressure on the visitors.

A mistake from Scott Robinson nearly gave McKay another opportunity to take the match ball home with him but MacDonald was determined to thwart the 24-year-old.

Hearts finished the game with 10 men for the second week in succession as Hamill was dismissed for deliberate handball in the box but the visiting goalkeeper denied McKay his hat-trick.

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