Caley Thistle marked a milestone day for the club by adding the scalp of Premiership side Livingston to their proud Scottish Cup tradition.
Inverness’s result made for a fitting tribute to Steve Paterson’s team of 20 years ago to the day, which knocked out Celtic at Parkhead to announce themselves on the Scottish football scene.
This result will not attract the same attention, but it was an impressive triumph nonetheless, with Sean Welsh’s free-kick seeing off a Lions outfit sitting fifth in the top flight.
In blustery conditions at Caledonian Stadium, Inverness scraped their way to a deserved victory to reach the last eight of the competition. They are now just 90 minutes away from another Hampden Park outing, having reached the semi-finals last season before being knocked out by Hearts.
The result marked Caley Jags’ first home win of 2020, with Robertson making two changes from the side which drew 1-1 at home to Alloa Athletic in the Championship seven days previously. Aaron Doran was sidelined through injury and James Vincent dropped to the bench, with David Carson and Welsh stepping in.
Inverness manager John Robertson felt dealing with Livingston’s physicality was key to the triumph.
He said: “We looked at Livi and decided to go with an extra man in midfield.
“I felt it worked. We got the tactics spot on and matched them all over the pitch. We had to stand up to them.
“I can’t recall Mark Ridgers having a save to make and it was a really good strike from Sean Welsh.”
Livi probed early on but it amounted to little goal threat, with Steven Lawless shooting over on the turn.
At the other end Welsh drove a low effort wide from long-range, as Inverness stepped up their own attack. Miles Storey was a source of danger, with the attacker seeing a low strike hacked off the line by the Livi defence on 19 minutes after he had got the better of goalkeeper Ryan Schofield, following a surging run down the right flank by Shaun Rooney.
Storey came close again on 31 minutes when Tom Walsh played him in down the left flank, before he cut inside and blazed an effort narrowly over.
Inverness’s defence was kept on its toes as the interval loomed, with both Kevin McHattie and Carl Tremarco forced to make goal-line clearances to deny Livi a breakthrough.
There had been little to separate the sides, with the gulf in divisions far from evident, albeit in challenging conditions for both sides.
It was Inverness who grabbed control of the tie at the start of the second half, with Storey setting up Welsh for another chance, but he struck his effort just wide.
Welsh had been a lively goal threat throughout the game, having made his comeback from a four-month metatarsal injury absence with an assist for Jordan White’s goal against Alloa the previous week.
The midfielder showed composure in the game’s key moment on the hour mark, taking on the free-kick duties after Storey had been felled on the edge of the box by Steve Lawson.
Welsh stepped up to calmly curl the ball past Schofield, nestling the effort low into the goalkeeper’s left-hand corner.
Although there were not many chances to extend Inverness’ lead, they never truly looked like being pegged back by Livi, whose only genuine test of Ridgers came when Lyndon Dykes’ powerful strike was well held by the Caley Jags custodian.
The full-time whistle was greeted with joy from the home faithful, with Robertson keen to highlight the significance of the result.
He added: “It was nice to build on our Scottish Cup pedigree with another big scalp – people forget Livingston are a top-six Premiership team.”