Owain Tudur Jones believes only clinching second place in the Scottish Premier League will truly make up for their Hampden heartache.
The Highlanders missed out on a cup final date with St Mirren when they lost on penalties to John McGlynn's side at Easter Road last month.
But some form of vengeance was gained with their 3-2 win over the Edinburgh outfit at Tynecastle yesterday. It was only Caley Thistle's second win in eight games but was sufficient to move them back up to second place in the SPL.
Now Wales international Tudur Jones believes only securing a runners-up slot to leaders Celtic will soothe the pain of missing out on their cup final chance.
Tudur Jones said: "It was obviously disappointing to be that close to a semi-final. So to play Hearts so soon after, yes, it does play a little part in your thinking.
Asked if closing out second would make up for losing that game, he said: "I think it would. The league table is established over a long period of time and finishing second would be huge.
"The achievement for this football club would be massive but we are a long way off that at the minute. The first target must be to finish in the top six. If we can achieve that then we can hopefully kick on again."
Gary Warren's headed double and another close-range header from SPL top scorer Billy McKay provided the points for Inverness after Jason Holt and Andy Webster had twice pegged the visitors back.
For 20-year-old Holt, it was a bittersweet moment as his stunning strike ended up counting for nothing. With Hearts now employing a firm policy of promoting young players, however, he admits it will be up to him to deal with the disappointment of defeat.
He said: "It is good to get a goal but the main thing was the result but we didn't manage to get that today, which is really disappointing.
"It's a tough time for the young lads like me to try and develop but it is going to make us better players in time to come. We are quite a young side but we need to learn from these situations.
"Sometimes it can be hard as we don't have many experienced players in the team to turn to but we do have Andy Webster and Darren Barr, who are always helping us through the games.
"But it's part and parcel of the game that you need to pick yourselves up and do your own job."