Caley Thistle moved three points clear in second place with a 2-1 Championship victory over Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park.
Tom Walsh’s deflected strike 13 minutes from time proved decisive, after Dom Thomas had cancelled out Aaron Doran’s first half free kick which was ruled to have crossed the line after coming off the underside of the crossbar.
The result marks Caley Jags’ first league victory since January 4, with their attention quickly moving to Friday’s Scottish Cup quarter final tie against Hibernian at Easter Road.
🔴🔵 Morning ICTFC Fans! Here are the goals from last night's win against @officialdafc at East End Park
— Official ICTFC (@ICTFC) February 26, 2020
Inverness made three changes from the side which was defeated 2-1 by Dundee United on Friday, with James Keatings, Tom Walsh and Kevin McHattie making way for Lewis Toshney, Roddy MacGregor and Aaron Doran.
The Highlanders were forced to contend with early pressure from the Pars, whose first clear sight of goal came when Dom Thomas dragged a shot wide after being played in by Jonathan Afolabi’s header on 11 minutes.
The home side had an even better chance two minutes later, with former Ross County winger Ryan Dow picking out leading scorer Kevin Nisbet unmarked in the middle, however he sent his header wide from just six yards.
Afolabi had an opening of his own which he drilled just wide on 15 minutes, however Inverness battled back, with Toshney firing over after being picked out by Doran’s corner.
It was Doran who gave the Highlanders the lead on 23 minutes when his free-kick from 20 yards came crashing off the underside of the bar, with the assistant referee ruling it crossed the line as it came back off the ground.
Dunfermline looked for a leveller before the break, with their best chance falling to Nisbet who guided Thomas’ delivery over the bar.
The Pars mounted pressure at the start of the second half, however Thomas was the only player to trouble Ridgers, who did well to palm away the winger’s effort.
Thomas was not to be denied on 70 minutes however, when he powered a thundering strike high into Ridgers’ top right-hand corner after the ball had broken to him on the edge of the box following a corner.
Former Caley Jags defender Danny Devine nodded inches wide as the hosts looked for a second, however Inverness were inches from regaining their lead when substitute Walsh turned on the edge of the box before hitting the post with a low strike.
Walsh was not to be denied on 77 minutes however, with his effort from similar distance deflecting off Murray before wrongfooting Owain Fon Williams and nestling in the net.