Rangers lose again as Billy McKay scores late winner for Inverness CT
INVERNESS celebrated their 1,000th competitive game with a 2-1 victory over Rangers as Billy McKay's 89th-minute overhead kick consigned Graeme Murty to a second consecutive Premiership defeat as caretaker manager.
Rangers lost the opening goal for the fifth match running when Greg Tansey swept home from 22 yards in the final minute of the first half but they were handed a lifeline midway through the second period when Louis Laing's late tackle on Lee Wallace gifted the visitors a penalty, which Martyn Waghorn converted.
However, Inverness finished the stronger team and Wes Foderingham saved an Iain Vigurs penalty shortly before McKay held off Rob Kiernan to control a deflected cross and hook the ball in off the post.
The victory was Caley Thistle's first in 15 league games but it was enough to take them off the bottom above Hamilton, while Rangers face falling nine points behind second-placed Aberdeen, who host Ross County on Saturday, after a fourth league game without a win.
Inverness kept an unchanged team following a 1-1 draw at Tynecastle, which meant a second game for a new-look central defence of Laing and on-loan Celtic player Jamie McCart.
Rangers had fit-again Lee Wallace and Jon Toral back in their line-up and Danny Wilson started in place of Clint Hill, who suffered a whiplash injury during Sunday's defeat by Dundee.
The visitors started well and a throw-in caught the home side napping but Owain Fon Williams made a double save from Kenny Miller and Emerson Hyndman.
Rangers continued to dominate and Caley Thistle were forced into a reshuffle when left-back Carl Tremarco went off injured in the 15th minute. Brad McKay came on at right-back and David Raven switched sides.
But the hosts settled down and Jake Mulraney started to cause problems with his pace on the right wing. There were warning signs for Rangers before the opener with Billy McKay having a free header blocked and Tansey and Liam Polworth shooting wide.
Rangers had a better chance in the 34th minute but McKay headed Wallace's cross over from inside the six-yard box.
The opener came from a throw-in midway inside the Rangers half on the left flank. Polworth's run was not tracked and James Tavernier failed to control as he ran back. The midfielder's shot was blocked but it fell for Tansey, whose shot curled away from Wilson's head and bounced into the corner of the net.
Rangers took time to get going in the second half but a steady stream of chances began around the hour mark. Miller set up Hyndman but both he and Tavernier had shots blocked, and Fon Williams tipped Barrie McKay's shot over.
Toral missed a sitter after being set up by Hyndman but Rangers were soon gifted an even better chance and Waghorn sent Fon Williams the wrong way from the spot.
Caley Thistle soon lost Mulraney to injury but they came back into the game and Tansey was denied a second goal by a brilliant one-handed stop from Foderingham.
Waghorn got another chance when Laing misjudged Hyndman's cross but Fon Williams blocked with his legs and Caley Thistle again hit back.
Billy McKay forced a decent stop from Foderingham before he was brought down in the box by Wilson as he tried to latch on to a knockdown.
Foderingham stopped Vigurs' penalty and Billy McKay missed the follow-up but the striker had the last laugh.