Draw cuts Celtic's lead to two

Terry Butcher made an instant impact at Inverness Caledonian Thistle as his new side earned a 0-0 draw against Celtic to frustrate the Scottish champions' attempt to pull clear at the top of the table.

Butcher has spent the last year working as Scotland's assistant manager and, although he has kept that post, his focus is now on lifting Inverness out of the relegation zone after taking charge of the Highland club this week.

Inverness had lost their last eight league games so Butcher will be delighted with the way his bottom of the table team managed to earn a well-deserved point at Caledonian stadium. And as a Rangers legend Butcher will have taken extra pleasure from a result that left league leaders Celtic just two points ahead of his former club.

"The players have given us everything and I thank them for that because it does give us hope," Butcher said. "It's hard to put your finger on it, but there is something here that is a bit special. Hopefully we can take that forward.

"In the last 10 minutes, I was thinking that if we lost the game, I would still have been very pleased with the way they played. A point is a bonus obviously but the real bonus is the performance. They came off the pitch as heroes and our boys can be heroes this season."

Butcher made five changes for his first match and his side played with a verve that suggested their new manager had made an immediate impression. Inverness started well with Dougie Imrie testing Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc from distance within the opening two minutes. An offside flag denied new signing Richie Foran a dream start when he acrobatically turned the ball past Boruc two minutes later.

Gradually Celtic managed to subdue Inverness's early promise and Andreas Hinkel flashed an effort wide after 13 minutes. The hosts almost gifted Celtic the lead when Shunsuke Nakamura pounced on a poor Ross Tokely clearance but the Japanese midfielder's effort was deflected wide.

Inverness survived another scare moments later when Georgios Samaras somehow headed wide from six yards when he looked certain to score. Boruc was called into action to deny a Pavels Mihadjuks header, but Celtic were on the attack as the first half finished and Nakamura volleyed over from inside the area.

Inverness started the second half well and Ian Black curled narrowly wide of the target within three minutes of the restart. The home side kept pushing forward with Imrie again failing to hit the target from distance after Barry Robson was dispossessed.

Nakamura, who had endured a quiet game by his standards, was replaced by Marc Crosas after 64 minutes. Inverness substitute Adam Rooney almost headed his side into the lead eight minutes from time, but Boruc brilliantly tipped his effort over the bar.

With less than five minutes left Butcher sent on Eric Odhiambo for his Inverness debut. Odhiambo almost marking his first appearance with a goal but Boruc made a fine save from the striker's low drive.