Caley Thistle returned to winning ways with a 2-0 Championship victory over second-placed Ayr United at Somerset Park.
A goal in each half from James Vincent and Shaun Rooney sealed the points for John Robertson’s men, who bounced back following their 3-1 home defeat to Partick Thistle the previous weekend.
The result moves Inverness back to within two points of the Honest Men and Dundee United at the summit of the table, after Robbie Neilson’s men fell to a 1-0 loss against Alloa Athletic the previous night.
Caley Jags kept faith with the same team which lost to Thistle, meaning teenager Roddy MacGregor retained his place following an impressive display.
The visitors could have made the perfect start, with Miles Storey forcing goalkeeper Ross Doohan to make a low save after just 35 seconds following Jordan White’s flick on.
Ayr enjoyed a strong 10-minute spell, with the hosts keeping Caley Jags goalkeeper Mark Ridgers firmly on his toes.
Ridgers’ first save was comfortable from Luke McCowan’s strike, however an even better stop came just two minutes later when Michael Moffat went through on goal before finding the Caley Jags goalkeeper equal to his low effort.
Ridgers also did well to block an Alan Forrest shot from close-range, as Inverness weathered the storm.
The visitors were dealt a blow just before the half hour mark when Sean Welsh limped off to be replaced by Charlie Trafford.
The Highlanders took the lead less than two minutes later however, with Vincent reacting quickly to prod home from 12 yards after Rooney’s drilled low delivery from the right had been partially cut out by Doohan.
Ayr saw a long-range shot from Stephen Kelly drift narrowly over just before half time, while Daniel Harvie and McCowan both saw efforts blocked shortly after the break as the hosts pressed for an equaliser.
Inverness went a long way towards wrapping up the points on 65 minutes when Rooney netted an impressive second. The right back collected Coll Donaldson’s long ball just inside Ayr’s half, with his bursting run taking him past Sam Roscoe before he coolly slotted underneath the advancing Doohan.
Aaron Doran struck an effort narrowly over the bar in pursuit of a killer third goal, while at the other end Ridgers did well to thwart Kris Doolan’s close-range attempt, as Inverness held on for a crucial victory.