From Andrew Driver's free kick, Hearts captain Marius Zaliukas and Ryan Esson, the Inverness goalkeeper, collided in mid-air, with referee Bobby Madden pointing to the spot. It was hard to determine the offence; the impact that eventually ended Zaliukas' participation was an honest contest. Madden had already called Simon King for holding John Sutton as the Hearts forward moved toward the flight of the ball. It is a common kind of infringement, part of the dark arts of penalty-box defending, and Sutton has form for selling any kind of impediment for maximum value. But Foran pursued the official with a different complaint.
"We went to the referees' meeting, [Inverness manager] Terry Butcher and me," he said. "[The referees] went on about pulling in the box. They said each team will get one warning. The second time it happens, it will be a penalty. When he gave the penalty I asked Bobby Madden, 'Where's our first warning?' We're getting told different things to the referees, maybe."
Foran also had a problem with Madden's interpretation of his foul four minutes later on Ryan McGowan, as the half ended with Hearts two goals and one player up on their opponents. "I shouldn't have been sent off," he said. "I saw the ball, went in and swiped. I didn't run 10 or 20 yards, I moved two or three. He nicked the ball away and I caught him. It's a yellow card. Five years ago it's not even a yellow. Before the game I told the lads he [Madden] is one of the best refs in the SPL, and he is. But he got one or two things wrong today."
It was nice of Foran to add that compliment. That he did not claim King was innocent of the offence works in the referee's favour and for all his protestation, having reviewed his tackle on-screen, his blood was up when he rattled into McGowan. The red card was not a great surprise.
Foran watched the second half on the television feed inside Tynecastle; the dramatic comeback perhaps deserving a bigger screen. Butcher described it as "one of the best performances from any Inverness side I have been in charge of".
His team came out fired up and maintained a fierce tempo for 25 minutes, getting the goal that prompted anxiety within Tynecastle. Hearts passed up chances to kill the game as Inverness tired, and debutant Conor Pepper, the 18-year-old substitute, was able to bundle in the equaliser in the third minute of added time, three days after getting his school exam results.
"He's a Dubliner and I make a bit more effort with the Irish lads as they're that much further from home. I've had him round for barbecues with the family. Maybe it's me that helped him score that goal," said Foran. "If a group of players are in Glasgow, it's easy for them to do their own thing. There's not that much to do [in Inverness] and we often stick together, playing golf or snooker. There really is a wonderful togetherness."
Butcher said his team "has no superstars" and they earned a point through guts and a bold attacking strategy after Foran's red card.
For Hearts, it was a prime example of how not to play in that situation. Urged forward, they were drawn into a brawl, giving Inverness a puncher's chance when they could have dug in, causing the 10 men run out of gas. "There was naivety," said manager John McGlynn. "We were going for it perhaps too much. When we lost the ball we were vulnerable to the counter-attack and that is how it panned out."