Caley Thistle did what they have threatened to do on so many occasions this season with a demolition of Falkirk which saw the points virtually wrapped up by half-time.
Inverness started like a train, but flourished even further as the first-half wore on, with their front three of George Oakley, Connor Bell and Jake Mulraney at times unplayable and each getting on the scoresheet.
Mulraney in particular showed the sort of devastating wing play he has looked capable of throughout his time at Caley Jags, and was rewarded with his first goal for the club.
Although Louis Longridge netted a late consolation, John Baird restored the three-goal cushion, with the victory returning the High-landers to within three points of the play-offs.
Falkirk came into the game ninth in the table but buoyed by an upturn in form which had seen them destroy second-placed Dundee United 6-1 last weekend.
John Robertson made five changes to the side that went down 1-0 against St Mirren on Saturday. John Baird, Aaron Doran and Charlie Trafford dropped to the bench, while Nathan Austin was out with a hamstring injury and David Raven has now departed. Iain Vigurs returned from suspension, while there were recalls for George Oakley, Jake Mulraney, Connor Bell and Coll Donaldson.
Inverness made a fine start and made a strong plea for a penalty after just five minutes. Oakley beat the offside trap after getting on the receiving end of a delightful pass by Joe Chalmers, which took Bairns skipper Aaron Muirhead out of the game.
A loose pass by Oakley nearly allowed Falkirk in for an opportunity but Thomas Robson’s strike from the edge of the box went wide.
Inverness continued to push and they were rewarded with the lead after 10 minutes.
It came via another crisp passing move in the final third, with Liam Polworth finding Mulraney down the inside right channel, with the Irishman weaving his way into a shooting position. The winger was denied his first goal for the club, as he saw his left-footed effort palmed by Robbie Thomson, but only into the path of Oakley, who bundled home from point-blank range.
The early goal put Caley Jags in a similar position to the one they found themselves in in their last home game against Livingston seven days previously but, having failed to see out for the victory on that occasion, they were eager to see this one out.
They continued to dominate, with Mulraney and Chalmers both off target with long-range efforts, while Thomson came to Falkirk’s rescue with an outstanding save to thwart skipper Gary Warren from a superb Mulraney pass on 25 minutes.
It was only a matter of time before Caley Jags extended their lead and the second goal came on 28 minutes. It was another fine move which started with Chalmers setting up Polworth, who in turn played in Mulraney down the right, before he unselfishly laid on his second assist of the evening for Bell to knock home his seventh goal of the season.
It got even better just two minutes later, with Mulraney finally making his breakthrough. Oakley showed superb hold-up play to receive Vigurs’ deep pass, before swivelling to set up Mulraney for a curling low strike past Thomson from 20 yards. It was fast becoming a rout.
The only drawback in Caley Jags’ stunning first-half display was the withdrawal of Carl Tremarco through injury after the full back landed awkwardly, with Riccardo Calder on as his replacement. Inverness were forced to make another change just four minutes after the interval with the outstanding Mulraney also limping off to a standing ovation, following one of his best displays in an Inverness jersey.
Inverness had Vigurs to thank for keeping the clean sheet intact when he made a crucial goalmouth interception to block Andrew Nelson’s delivery from reaching Louis Longridge. Caley Jags were denied a fourth on 66 minutes, with Chalmers seeing his effort palmed away by Thomson and knocked home by Oakley, who was denied by an offside flag.
Caley Jags goalkeeper Mark Ridgers was forced into an excellent save to tip Lewis Kidd’s effort over the bar midway through the second half.
They did pull one back on 86 minutes when Longridge showed fine composure to lift the ball over Ridgers, however substitute Baird restored the three-goal cushion by nodding home Doran’s cross to seal the win.