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Inverness win seven-goal thriller in hunt for Europe

ESPN staff
May 4, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Andrew Shinnie and Billy McKay got the goals for Inverness © PA Photos
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Inverness Caledonian Thistle blew a three-goal lead before netting the final goal of seven in their pursuit of European football in the SPL, while at the bottom St Mirren failed to consign Dundee to the drop after they lost at Hearts.

Inverness started the day ahead of St Johnstone and Ross County in the race for the remaining Europa League spot, but they looked like slipping down the table after throwing away a 3-0 advantage against Motherwell at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. However, a late Billy McKay strike rescued the situation six minutes from time.

McKay opened the scoring in the third minute with a poacher's effort from close range, and two more followed in a three-minute spell close to the half-hour marker. Andrew Shinnie doubled the lead when he found the bottom corner before turning provider for McKay's second.

However, James McFadden responded for Motherwell before half-time with a trademark strike from distance before Michael Higdon converted a 49th-minute penalty to close the gap to 3-2. McKay then saw his spot-kick saved as a hat-trick chance went begging, and Motherwell completed the comeback through McFadden's 64th-minute equaliser.

Still more drama was to come, and after Henrik Ojamaa saw red for a second booking with 17 minutes remaining, McKay finally netted his third for a dramatic victory.

St Johnstone stay a point below Inverness after they beat Dundee United 1-0 at Tannadice. Liam Craig scored the winner seven minutes before half-time.

United suffered their third successive post-split defeat and the biggest positive for them was seeing the return in the second half of highly-coveted striker Johnny Russell, who was back for the first time since breaking his leg against Inverness in February.

St Mirren could have all but sealed Dundee's relegation from the SPL had they earned a draw at Hearts but they were beaten 3-0. A point would have left Dundee nine points adrift with as many points to play for, but requiring an improbable 24-goal swing in the goal difference column.

However, their hopes of a miracle escape stay alive thanks to goals from Jamie Walker, Kevin McHattie and Jamie Hamill. Walker found the top corner after 13 minutes before McHattie doubled the lead before half-time from a free-kick. A Jamie Hamill penalty then made the points safe as the visitors lost Kenny McLean for his part in the concession of the spot-kick.

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