Caley Thistle crashed out of the Scottish Cup after their third-round replay ended in a 5-4 penalty shoot-out loss to Morton after a 1-1 draw.
Robbie Muirhead’s goal just before half-time put managerless Ton in front after a spirited display from the Greenock men.
However, a headed reply by defender Danny Devine early in the second half drew the Championship leaders level.
Both teams probed for a winner in 90 minutes, but it was straight on to a shoot-out, as is the way in replays at this stage of the competition.
Devine’s spot-kick was saved by Jack Hamilton with the scores locked at 4-4 then Gary Oliver netted the clincher.
Morton can now look forward to a fourth round trip to Premiership Motherwell on January 22.
This third round replay, which comes as a result of their 1-1 draw at the Caledonian Stadium on November 27, will be followed by Saturday’s league game in Greenock.
The hosts could barely have been going into this one in poorer form. Their draw in Inverness is one of few highlights for the Ton, with only one victory in 15 fixtures in all competitions.
The final straw came on Saturday when a 2-2 draw at home to Ayr United cost manager Gus MacPherson his job. It leaves the Ton only ahead of Dunfermline and Queen of the South at the foot of the table on goal difference.
The concern perhaps for ICT would be that decision would spark a reaction on the pitch, boosted by fans who were crying out for change.
ICT unchanged from Killie clash
Inverness head coach Billy Dodds kept the the same 11 starters who got the victory over Killie. There was certainly no reason to change it.
Morton are being led in the interim by head of youth academy, Derek Anderson, supported by assistant manager Andy Millen and reserve team coach, John Sutton.
Changes, as expected, were made from the Ayr game, with captain Alan Lithgow, Gary Oliver and Reece Lyon all promoted to the starting side.
Morton began on the offensive and were swift, alert and positive, with Gary Oliver slicing an early shot wide.
Caley Thistle soon settled into the tie and Shane Sutherland’s pinpoint pass picked out Aaron Doran, who drew a fine save from Jack Hamilton on 15 minutes.
Just two minutes later, Doran became the supplier as his teasing delivery was nodded just past the right post by Sutherland.
A slack pass from Devine then let Morton have a go and the move saw Jaakko Oksanen feed the ball to Gozie Ugwu, who fired wide of goal.
Friday’s match-winner for ICT, skipper Sean Welsh, had to be replaced by Tom Walsh on half an hour as he struggled with a knock.
Five minutes before the break, space opened up for Reilly and his low drive was gratefully gathered by Ridgers.
Caley Jags cancel out Muirhead goal
ICT, however, were behind moments later when from neat play at the edge of the box, Muirhead was picked out and he swerved a shot from the angle past the Inverness keeper into the net.
Ugwu, who got both Morton goals at the weekend, almost made it two before the half-time whistle, but Ridgers was on hand to save his effort on the line.
Caley Thistle could not have got off to a better start to the second half. Just two minutes in, a Doran free-kick was met by the head of Devine to make it 1-1.
The band of ICT fans in the main stand were on their feet, confident their players could go on and win this tie.
However, the hosts were coping well, staying confident and had a couple of half chances. Inverness responded with a succession of corner, but nothing came of them.
With 20 minutes to go, Dodds pitched on-loan St Mirren striker into the action in place of Billy Mckay, who had been handled well by Morton.
Jamieson was involved quickly when he slotted Sutherland into the box, but Hamilton raced out to block him. At the other end, Ridgers was required to save from Strapp.
Doran and Sutherland came close to sealing it late on, but it came down to a shoot-out.
After ice-cool penalties all the way, Devine’s effort was saved by Hamilton and Oliver slammed home the clincher.
So as the dust settles here, the sides will prepare for a Cappielow return this Saturday in the league as they each chase vital points at either end of the table.
HOW THEY LINED UP
MORTON (4-4-2) – Hamilton 6, Strapp 6, Oliver 6, Muirhead 7, Lyon 6, Ugwu 6, Reilly 6, Russell 6, Hynes 6, Oksanen 6, Lithgow 6. Subs not used: Bysouth, Ledger, Jacobs, Blues, McGrattan, Easdale, McGregor, King.
CALEY THISTLE (4-4-1-1) – Ridgers 6, Welsh 3 (Walsh 29), Deas 6, Devine 6, Carson 6, Mckay 6 (Jamieson 71), Doran 6, Sutherland 7, MacGregor 6 (McAlear 61), Broadfoot 6, Allardice. Subs not used: MacKay, Harper, McDonald, Duku.
Referee: David Dickinson.
Man of the match: Shane Sutherland.