It will go down in the record books as a slender Caley Thistle victory, but nobody in attendance on Saturday should remember it that way.
Partick were fortunate to go in at half-time still entertaining even a faint glimmer of hope.
For the best part of 45 minutes, the team from Maryhill were torn by apart by some of the best open play the hosts had produced since their Premiership heyday.
If John Robertson’s team can stride forward in the Championship with that first half performance as the attainable yardstick, a season of success awaits.
After away wins at Falkirk and Dunfermline, question marks over home form lingered but were erased for now. Partick’s late recovery cannot be ignored, but was partly the product of unfortunate twists in the game.
Right-back Shaun Rooney, after scoring, hobbled off with an ankle injury three minutes before the break. Later, with Caley Thistle legs tiring, Robertson could have done with that extra substitution to refresh the ranks.
Similarly, forward Jordan White, an impressive linchpin to the creative runners around him, was substituted after 69 minutes only for replacement George Oakley to succumb to injury.
Those setbacks, added to the natural impulse to withdraw and defend the lead, increasingly handed momentum to Partick.
Victory, though, took Caley Jags to the Championship summit a week before a short trip to face second-placed Ross County.
It was also a 16th game unbeaten in the league for an Invernes squad rebuilt over the course of 15 months.
Caley Thistle, unchanged from the 3-0 win at Dunfermline, were thrilling to watch before the break against a Partick Thistle team smarting from an IRN-BRU Cup scalping from East Fife. The Jags started well enough but it all disintegrated pretty quickly for Alan Archibald’s side.
With 11 minutes gone, Liam Polworth’s shot was turned onto the post by Cammy Bell. White slid in under pressure inside a crowded six-yard box to claim the opener.
The hosts’ second goal arrived after 22 minutes. Liam Polworth’s corner was met by Coll Donaldson but knocked out of the six-yard box before falling perfectly for Rooney to side-foot home.
It was 3-0 just after the half-hour mark as Polworth’s burst of pace into the box was halted by Brice Ntambwe’s grapple which brought him crashing to the ground. Ex-Jag Sean Welsh tucked away the penalty with ease.
The Maryhill side did win a questionable penalty award just before the break when Polworth was adjudged to have clipped former Caley Thistle striker Miles Storey in the area.
Storey, an uncertain and unconvincing figure all afternoon, stepped up but Ridgers made a fine save to his right.
With their group of fans booing them off, Partick had to show a second half response and Blair Spittal grasped a lifeline for the Jags with eight minutes left after poking past Ridgers.
Home substitute George Oakley’s late injury left his team with 10 men before another sub, Jags’ Kris Doolan, bundled in a stoppage-time consolation.