Caley Thistle ran out 3-1 winners over Queen of the South in dreadful conditions at Caledonian Stadium.
Inverness had looked like cruising to victory following goals from James Vincent and James Keatings, and although Callum Semple had threatened to set up a tense end to the game, Miles Storey made sure of the points with a late strike.
The result, allied with Dundee’s 2-0 victory over Ayr United, extends Caley Jags’ lead in second place to four points.
Inverness made five changes from the side which was defeated 2-0 by Alloa Athletic at the weekend. Jordan White, Aaron Doran, Tom Walsh, Brad Mckay and Lewis Toshney made way, with Vincent, Nikolay Todorov, James Keatings, Kevin McHattie and teenager Cameron Harper drafted in.
Caley Jags began on the front foot in blustery conditions, with Keatings firing a shot over from distance following a poor clearance from goalkeeper Ross Stewart, before Miles Storey struck wide.
Queens’ only serious first half threat came when Stephen Dobbie saw an effort deflected wide on 20 minutes, however the hosts took the lead just 10 minutes later. After Rooney’s effort had been deflected just over the bar, Keatings’ corner was met by the head of Vincent who marked his return from injury by nodding home from close range.
Having deservedly gone into half-time a goal ahead, Caley Jags started the second half on the front foot, with Storey’s superb through ball releasing David Carson, who saw his effort blocked behind by Scott Mercer.
Queens spurned a glorious chance to level on 55 minutes when Mercer’s cross picked out substitute Deimantas Petravicius, however he nodded inches wide from an excellent position.
Inverness doubled their lead just two minutes later, with Keatings swerving a superb free-kick low into Stewart’s bottom right corner from more than 30 yards.
Queens set up a tense finish to the game when they pulled a goal back on 72 minutes, with former Ross County defender Semple nodding home after a wind-assisted corner had been punched partially clear by Mark Ridgers.
Caley Jags regained their two-goal cushion on 79 minutes though, with Storey firing home a low strike off the inside of the post after being set up by Carson.