Jackson Irvine and Michael Gardyne strike as Inverness fall to Ross County
Inverness were dumped out of the Scottish League Cup after a 2-1 loss to Ross County in the quarter-finals.
Jackson Irvine opened the scoring four minutes before the break and Michael Gardyne doubled County's advantage just after half-time.
A long-range effort from Greg Tansey gave the Caley Jags hope but it was too late for John Hughes' men to turn the match around.
Inverness made one change to the side that lost against St Johnstone, bringing in Iain Vigurs for Danny Williams. Three changes were made by County, with Richard Foster, Brian Graham and Stewart Murdoch making way for Tony Dingwall, Craig Curran and Martin Woods.
The home side started the brighter and should have led after eight minutes. Liam Polworth slid in Miles Storey however he did not get enough on his shot to get it past Gary Woods, who blocked well enough for Marcus Fraser to clear.
Dingwall soon had a strong penalty shout turned down when he was brought down by David Raven just inside the penalty area, before Liam Boyce, reunited with Curran, fired over. Boyce was not done there, flashing a header wide from a Dingwall centre with 17 minutes gone.
Concerted pressure was coming from the away side and they came mightily close to an opener after 23 minutes. Woods received the ball 35 yards from goal and let fly, catching Owain Fon Williams off guard and striking the underside of the crossbar.
The pressure paid off four minutes before half-time as Woods' corner found Irvine eight yards from goal and he powered a header into the far corner.
Just three minutes into the second half County were two in front. Good work by Curran found Gardyne, who cut inside on his left foot and curled a shot beyond Fon Williams. Efforts from Dingwall and Curran followed and Inverness were looking like a beaten side.
Caley Thistle were short of attacking options on the bench and were struggling to test Gary Woods in the County goal. Danny Devine floated a header wide from a Tansey free-kick but the Staggies were well on top.
The home side were fortunate to escape further punishment when Fon Williams dropped the ball from his own kick-out, with Gardyne's attempt cleared off the line by Josh Meekings.
Ryan Christie hit the post for Inverness before Tansey scored in spectacular fashion, drilling home from 30 yards, but the hosts could not find an equaliser.