Josh Mullin netted a dramatic injury-time equaliser to keep Ross County in the Scottish Cup after a pulsating Highland derby in Dingwall.

Inverness took an early lead through Aaron Doran’s rasping long-range drive.

Ross Stewart levelled 10 minutes after the break before Brad McKay restored Caley Thistle’s lead.

But with time ticking away, Mullin beat the offside trap to strike and force a replay, with the winner travelling to Dundee United in the quarter-finals.

This was a typically feisty derby between these two sides with County pushing deep into injury time for a late winner, but it was not to be.

The sides will meet again in Inverness on Tuesday, 19 February.

‘Football throws up dramatic surprise’ – analysis

BBC Scotland’s Brian McLauchlin in Dingwall

It may not have been a sell-out but the Highland derby more than gave those hardy fans who turned out on a chilly February evening some thrilling entertainment.

From John Beaton’s opening whistle the tackles were flying in all over the park but no more than you would expect from either team.

In his pre-match interview, John Robertson said he had the belief in his side. Not just to win the game, but to go on and actually win the trophy.

And when Doran fired home in the first half that belief could easily be witnessed in his players.

County were better in the second period and when substitute Stewart levelled from a fine Michael Gardyne cross, it looked as if there was to be only one winner.

But football has a habit of throwing up surprises and McKay popped at a corner up to lash home and turn the game on its head.

However substitute Mullin had the last laugh when he raced clear and fired low past Mark Ridgers, sealing a replay that the hosts may have started to think was beyond them.

‘Sums up our season’ – reaction

Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson: “We always felt there would be one more chance in the game. Josh is well onside and does great to finish it.

“The players never know when they’re beaten. Sometimes it’s not pretty and you have to put your shoulder to the wheel and the players deserve all the credit for that.

“I don’t think either us would have wanted a replay. We’re delighted we’re still in the hat.”

Inverness CT manager John Robertson: “It’s just about being street-smart. They stopped.

“You just keep defending but they’ve let Josh Mullin through and he’s scored. That sums up our season. We’ve been in the lead and given away a goal at the end. We now have a replay to play so we’ll just get on with it.

“We felt we were getting close to that third goal which would have finished the game off. We didn’t see where their goal was going to come from. That’s the difference. That’s why we’re fourth in the league and County are top.”

Line-ups

Ross County

  • 1Fox
  • 2Fraser
  • 15WatsonBooked at 68mins
  • 12Boyle
  • 28van der Weg
  • 8LindsaySubstituted forMcManusat 87′minutes
  • 16SpenceSubstituted forMullinat 67′minutes
  • 6Draper
  • 7Gardyne
  • 19GrahamSubstituted forStewartat 54′minutes
  • 9Mckay

Substitutes

  • 10McManus
  • 14Mullin
  • 21Munro
  • 27Stewart
  • 43Wallace
  • 44Grivosti
  • 46Murray

Inverness CT

  • 1Ridgers
  • 22McKay
  • 5DonaldsonSubstituted forRooneyat 80′minutes
  • 6McCart
  • 3Tremarco
  • 11WalshSubstituted forTraffordat 85′minutes
  • 15WelshBooked at 25mins
  • 4ChalmersBooked at 77mins
  • 10Doran CoganSubstituted forMcCauleyat 77′minutes
  • 7Polworth
  • 19White

Substitutes

  • 2Rooney
  • 8McCauley
  • 9Austin
  • 21Mackay
  • 24Trafford
  • 29McHattie
  • 35Macgregor
Referee:
John Beaton

Match Stats

Home TeamRoss CountyAway TeamInverness CT
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home15
Away17
Shots on Target
Home5
Away8
Corners
Home9
Away6
Fouls
Home10
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Ross County 2, Inverness CT 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Ross County 2, Inverness CT 2.

Foul by Declan McManus (Ross County).

Joe Chalmers (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Shaun Rooney.

Attempt blocked. Declan McManus (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Ross Stewart (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Brad McKay (Inverness CT).

Goal!

Goal! Ross County 2, Inverness CT 2. Josh Mullin (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Michael Gardyne.

Attempt saved. Declan McManus (Ross County) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Attempt missed. Joe Chalmers (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Declan McManus replaces Jamie Lindsay.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Jamie McCart.

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Charlie Trafford replaces Tom Walsh.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Darren McCauley.

Ross Stewart (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Shaun Rooney (Inverness CT).

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Jamie Lindsay.

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Shaun Rooney replaces Coll Donaldson because of an injury.

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Scott Fox.

Attempt saved. Tom Walsh (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Coll Donaldson.

Booking

Joe Chalmers (Inverness CT) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Billy Mckay (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joe Chalmers (Inverness CT).

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Darren McCauley replaces Aaron Doran.

Delay in match Coll Donaldson (Inverness CT) because of an injury.

Attempt blocked. Michael Gardyne (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joe Chalmers (Inverness CT).

Attempt missed. Tom Walsh (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Attempt saved. Jamie McCart (Inverness CT) header from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Booking

Keith Watson (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Keith Watson (Ross County).

Jordan White (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Josh Mullin replaces Lewis Spence.

Goal!

Goal! Ross County 1, Inverness CT 2. Brad McKay (Inverness CT) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the top left corner. Assisted by Liam Polworth with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Keith Watson.

Attempt blocked. Liam Polworth (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner.