Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Falkirk 1

Falkirk effectively ended Inverness Caley Thistle's top-six hopes for another season, while strengthening their own, with a rather fortunate win in the Highland capital courtesy of sub Billy Clarke's late winner.

With both teams still in the running to finish in the top half of the table come the SPL split, the first half was surprisingly bereft of any real chances as both teams rather strolled about in the sun at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

Falkirk were the first to threaten on eight minutes when Carl Finnigan produced a deft piece of control on the edge of the box, only to see his goalbound shot superbly deflected away for a corner by Grant Munro.

Seven minutes later and Finnigan came close once again, but his close-range effort from Pedro Moutinho's corner was blocked by the legs of Caley Thistle goalkeeper Michael Fraser.

Caley Thistle's forays into the Bairns half had produced only fleeting moments of concern for visiting custodian Robert Olejnik, but he had to look lively on 36 minutes to turn away Marius Niculae's low effort that appeared to be going wide anyway.

The fare improved little in the second half, although Inverness did come close to opening the scoring after 64 minutes.

Don Cowie's superb pass sent Roy McBain scampering down the left and, despite Graham Bayne failing to make a proper connection with the ball, it fell kindly to Niculae, but from a tight angle his low effort was blocked at his near post by Olejnik.

The game slowly began to become more open and Caley Thistle almost took advantage of some unusually slack Falkirk defending seven minutes from time, only for an unmarked Bayne to head Ian Black's cross a yard wide of the post.

Three minutes later and Inverness were made to pay for that miss as Bairns substitute Russell Latapy surged into the box only to be halted by Grant Munro's challenge.

The ball, however, broke kindly to fellow sub Clarke who could not fail to score from less than six yards out.