JAMIE Walker's 150th appearance for Hearts will not be one he looks fondly back on in years to come. The 23-year-old, kept in reserve at first in an apparent nod to Wednesday night's Scottish Cup replay against capital rivals Hibs, climbed off the bench in a bid to salvage three points against basement side Inverness Caledonian Thistle but saw his 75th-minute spot kick saved by Owain Fon Williams as the Highlanders claimed a priceless point on this awkward bobbly Tynecastle pitch which could yet breathe new life into their survival hopes.

While Ian Cathro said afterwards that he felt Hearts had dominated the game, this was a rather uncharitable interpretation of the efforts of a Caley Thistle side who were less demoralised than you might expect from a team who have now gone 14 league matches without a win. Anyone who expected them to go quietly into the Championship clearly forgot that they have the feisty Richie Foran as manager. Next up for them is an intriguing home match with Rangers.

"That was the old fighting Inverness," said Foran. "All season we've looked good going forward and a goal threat but we were lazy going back the park. But what a battling performance. We frustrated them at times which we wanted to do. We looked good on the counter. All in all it's a fair result for me. We've done ourselves no harm at all for Friday that's for sure."

There were heroes throughout his team. Fon Williams did brilliantly all day, including guessing correctly as he threw himself to his left to keep out Walker's spot kick after Ross Draper had gone in clumsily on Arnaud Djoum. The callow central defensive duo of recently-signed Louis Laing and on-loan Celtic kid Jamie McCart deputised like veterans in the absence of the unavailable Garry Warren, Josh Meekings and Brad McKay. Lone striker Billy McKay held the ball up all day, wingers Larnell Cole and Jake Mulraney were lively, and Ross Draper won most things going in either box. And Foran said he was as surprised as anyone as Tremarco scored his seventh goal of the season from a pinpoint Greg Tansey free-kick.

"I told Carlo yesterday he won't score again this season and told him I didn't want to see him in the opposition box," said Foran. "Once again he's showed me up. It is getting closer to me losing a few quid when he hits them ten goals."

While their visitors played to their strengths, a frustrated Cathro went off into the night thinking that all his canny January recruitment could be fatally undermined by a soft, cloying surface on which it is currently well nigh impossible to play his favoured passing game. While their equaliser finally came when Djoum finished a Perry Kitchen cross from close range, goalkeeper Jack Hamilton often only succeeded in playing his defenders into difficulty and young substitute Rory Currie was rather embarrassed when a bobble caused him to fresh air swipe with virtually the last chance of the game. While the pitch is due to be relaid this summer, that may not be too soon to stop them squandering further precious ground in the race for the European spots. At least no such excuses will be available at Easter Road on Wednesday night.

"It [the pitch] doesn't make things easier," said Cathro, who also lost Bjorn Johnsen to injury. "Of course it is a factor. It is something that we need to look at collectively to see what we can do to progress. We need to try to manage these things and have the guys doing as much work as they can to help us. Normally he [Walker] would put that away. But we created other chances too. There was lots of effort and quality to dominate the game the way that we did. We should be talking about a good performance with a different feeling because we should have won the game and these are the games that this football club needs to win."