Fox lifts spirits for the long ride home

Kilmarnock 2 - Inverness CT 2
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The Independent Online

The most important part of Inverness Caledonian Thistle's survival bid in the Scottish Premier League had another idle 90 minutes yesterday.

The most important part of Inverness Caledonian Thistle's survival bid in the Scottish Premier League had another idle 90 minutes yesterday.

The Inverness coach was forced to sit out in the car park. Nothing to do with nerves, it is just that is where the team bus belongs. The real coach, John Robertson, was inside Rugby Park savouring his team's first point on the road thanks to a goal from Liam Fox six minutes from time.

But then every game is a journey for Robertson's team this term. The SPL's new boys are caught in an odyssey that will see them clock up 10,000 miles by next May.

The bizarre ruling that forced the promoted side to play their home games at Aberdeen's Pittodrie Stadium - some 105 miles away - because their own Caledonian Stadium did not yet have an all-seated ground to meet SPL criteria, means Robertson and his team leave the Highland city every weekend.

Yesterday was their longest away fixture. A round trip of 420 miles. "It's too long, so we came down last night," explained Robertson. "Usually, we have to leave Inverness at 9am every Saturday.

"With the amount of travelling we've done this season, I thought we were playing in Europe," joked Robertson, who knows the achievement of a club born only in 1994 in reaching the top-flight is being diluted by their weekly trek.

"We are playing 38 away games," stated Robertson yesterday. "We've got a home game next week against Livingston but it is a two-and-a-half hour trip along a treacherous A96. Livingston will leave at the same time as us. Our shortest journey is when we go to Dunfermline, which is two hours, 15 minutes." Perhaps the morning lie-in had disturbed Inverness's equilibrium because they were literally caught napping when Stevie Murray put Kilmarnock ahead after just four minutes.

The midfielder gathered Craig Dargo's pass and advanced on Mark Brown's goal before squeezing a left-foot shot between the embarrassed goalkeeper and his near post.

Of course, the Inverness fans are just as sick of the sight of the tachograph. Only 300 made it yesterday, but at least they were rewarded with a fine equaliser from Barry Wilson after 15 minutes, taking a short corner from Roy McBain before thrashing a shot past Alan Combe.

However, Kilmarnock regained their lead just 12 minutes later when Danny Invincible's cutback was knocked out to Gordon Greer who scored from 25 yards.

Wilson almost restored parity just before the interval with a fierce free-kick that Combe pushed aside but the visitors were then reduced to 10 men in the 51st minute by the dismissal of Stuart McCaffrey for bringing down Dargo.

It was uphill for Inverness after that yet their Fox in the box made the return trip bearable when he clipped an angled shot past Combe. You can only hope the movie on the way back was not Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

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