There was to be no repeat of December’s 3-3 thriller as Caley Thistle missed the chance to go third with this narrow defeat at Ayr. Bobby Mann missed the game through injury and Saturday’s hat-trick hero Paul Ritchie dropped to the bench. Steven Hislop had a chance in six minutes when he latched onto a Roy McBain pass and closed in on Craig Nelson – the ‘keeper saved with his legs. A Barry Robson corner was punched away by Nelson then Mark Brown held a shot from Aaron Black. Brown saved from James Grady in 18 minutes then a minute later Stewart Kean netted the only goal of the game when he took a Grady flick and scored from close range. Kean headed wide before Dennis Wyness had two chances – he headed wide from a Robson corner in 29 minutes then mishit a Robson cross. On the stroke of half-time Hislop shot wide from 12 yards. Ayr looked lively just after the break and Kean shot wide before Brown saved from Boyd Mullen. The visitors pressed for an equaliser and Nelson had a busy last ten minutes. A Hislop header was deflected for a corner, Richie Hart headed narrowly over and with two minutes left a Wyness shot was sent for a corner by Nelson. Ayr held out to take all three points.