INVERNESS 1 CELTIC 1
Inverness and Celtic warmed up for their William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final showdown next weekend with a 1-1 draw at a blustery Tulloch Caledonian stadium.
Returning Hoops striker Leigh Griffiths opened the scoring for the visitors in the third minute only for his Caley counterpart Edward Ofere to level just over a minute later.
Caley lost keeper Dean Brill, back in the side for the first time in 11 weeks after recovering from a knee problem, to a 15th-minute injury.
He was replaced by Ryan Esson who made a couple of game-saving stops to deny the Scottish Premiership leaders who go eight points clear of Aberdeen who play Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Sunday.
The third-placed Highlanders laid down a marker for next week’s semi-final clash at Hampden Park with some dogged defending, especially in the second half, although Celtic will look to improve in what is hoped will be better conditions at the national stadium.
When Celtic visited Caley in August Hoops manager Ronny Deila, still getting to grips with the job he had taken over in the summer, made 10 changes and lost 1-0.
It was a more settled Hoops team which travelled north this time.
Captain Scott Brown returned from suspension to replace Kris Commons while defender Efe Ambrose came in for Adam Matthews and John Guidetti made way for Griffiths.
Brill replaced 35-year-old Ryan Esson while forward Ryan Christie and Ofere were given starts as Nick Ross and Aaron Doran also dropped to the bench.