Caley Thistle ended their Betfred Cup group A campaign with a 1-0 victory over East Fife at Caledonian Stadium.
Forward Shane Sutherland netted the only goal of the game midway through the second half, with Cammy Mackay saving a late Jack Hamilton penalty to prevent the tie going to a shoot-out.
The result was only enough to secure third place in the group however, which will see John Robertson’s side exit the competition.
Inverness made five changes from the side which drew 3-3 with Raith Rovers on Tuesday, before going on to lose the penalty shoot-out. Debutant Harry Nicolson, goalkeeper Cammy Mackay were drafted in, along with Robbie Deas, Roddy MacGregor and Nikolay Todorov.
Young winger Kai Kennedy was lively in the early stages, seeing a low effort saved by Jordan Hart before sending another effort wide.
East Fife’s first attempt came on 16 minutes when Ryan Wallace rifled an effort over after the ball had dropped to him in the penalty box, with the striker also off target with a speculative long-range effort shortly afterwards.
The lively Wallace got another sight of goal on 22 minutes, curling a strike wide from the edge of the box after being afforded too much space.
Mackay was forced to make an excellent save to prevent the visitors taking the lead just after the half hour mark, with Scott Agnew’s free kick knocked across goal by Stewart Murdoch, with the goalkeeper showing excellent reflexes to keep out Chris Higgins’ close-range header.
Caley Jags were struggling to test Fifers goalkeeper Hart, with skipper Aaron Doran sending a strike over from the left angle of the penalty box six minutes before half-time.
East Fife started the second half brightly, with Jack Hamilton nodding over an Agnew cross, before the on-loan Livingston player tested Mackay with a powerful low effort which the goalkeeper did well to turn away.
At the other end Kennedy tried his luck with an effort from the edge of the box which drifted wide, however Inverness made the breakthrough on 64 minutes. Harper’s in-swinging corner found the head of Sutherland, who nodded home his second goal in as many games having got off the mark in his second spell at the Highlanders against Raith on Tuesday.
Substitute Miles Storey threatened on 70 minutes with a low drive which was well saved by Hart, while Kennedy struck over following a surging run by MacGregor.
Storey rifled another effort into the side netting, before the Englishman was presented with a glorious chance to double the advantage on 83 minutes when James Keatings sent him through on goal, but took a heavy touch when trying to round Hart which allowed the goalkeeper to recover to save his eventual shot.
The Fifers threatened through Ross Davidson’s long range strike which drifted just over, however East Fife were handed a penalty in the dying moments when Hamilton was tripped by Robbie Deas inside the box.
Mackay got down to his left to deny Hamilton however, ensuring Inverness claimed the three points.