Caley Thistle manager John Robertson could not have wished for a better return from cold storage as his side ran out 7-3 friendly winners against Elgin City at Borough Briggs.
Inverness were playing in their first game since they defeated Queen of the South on March 10, shortly before last term was cut short due to coronavirus.
Although Robertson admits he was uncertain about what to expect following such a long shutdown, he was thrilled with the way his players showed up in their first outing of the campaign.
Robertson said: “It’s more than six months since we last played and being brutally honest, I hadn’t a clue what we were going to get. To get that kind of performance was fantastic.
“We always get it tough at Elgin. When I first came back a couple of years ago we were deservedly beaten 2-0.
“This was a good entertaining game of football.
“I’m just pleased for the players, it’s nice for them to get back out and do what they do naturally.”
🎥 Highlights of Saturday's friendly against @ElginCityFC can be found here via ElginCityTV
— Official ICTFC (@ICTFC) September 28, 2020
The Inverness attacking players shared the goalscoring burden, with James Keatings and Nikolay Todorov putting the Highlanders in front with long-range strikes within the opening 23 minutes.
Elgin pulled a goal back five minutes later through Kane Hester, who cut in from the left before rifling a low strike past Mark Ridgers. However, Keatings restored the two-goal cushion from the spot early in the second half after former Elgin player Shane Sutherland had been felled by Euan Spark.
Hester pulled another goal back on 71 minutes after latching on to a misplaced header by Caley Jags defender Lewis Toshney, but quickfire strikes from Miles Storey and Roddy MacGregor put the game beyond doubt.
Stephen Bronsky headed home Elgin’s third with 10 minutes remaining, but Storey and MacGregor both doubled their tallies in the dying stages.
Robertson was thrilled to get the majority of his attacking players on the scoresheet and was encouraged by the displays of the Caley Jags teenagers who featured in the game.
He added: “All we needed was Shane to score – if he had we’d have been looking at all our front men on the scoresheet.
“There was some quality finishing from both teams.
“It was a very young line-up, but we have great confidence in them. At the end of the game we had 16-year-old Lewis Nicolson, two 17-year-olds and three or four 18-year-olds.
“We only had four senior players on the park, but we just kept playing.
“We’ve not got the biggest squad in the world but we have got quality.
“We feel that we have got some good youngsters coming through as well.”
Inverness will face Nairn County at Station Park tomorrow, with a young side also set to face Clachnacuddin on Friday before Caley Jags host Elgin in a return fixture on Saturday.
Robertson is hopeful David Carson, Sean Welsh and James Vincent will recover from strains, with Brad Mckay, Kevin McHattie and Aaron Doran still to be assessed.
“We’ve still got six senior players to come back in which is pleasing,” he said.
“Hopefully most of them will make Tuesday before we see Elgin again next weekend.”