Celtic's quest for a domestic treble in this, Neil Lennon's first campaign as manager, remains on course after victory on a freezing night in the Highlands.
Lennon took in the game from the stand as he continues to serve a touchline ban. From there he watched Celtic recover from falling a goal behind to earn a place in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup, where Aberdeen lie in wait. Joe Ledley will take the Celtic plaudits, the Wales midfielder's double overhauling an Adam Rooney penalty for Inverness.
Lennon used a communication wire to speak to his assistants in the dug-out. "I'm glad it wasn't me who was wearing the earpiece," joked the coach, Alan Thompson. He added that he has "no idea" for how long Lennon will maintain his media silence.
Little of this clash was pretty – much of it also lacked the pace of a cup tie – yet Celtic warmed up in ideal fashion for Sunday. Then, in a meaningful treble-chasing test, they will face Rangers in the final of the League Cup.
Celtic encountered Scottish Cup horror shows against Inverness in both 2000 and 2003. The Highlands club's subsequent ascent to the Premier League meant any repeat would not be regarded in similarly surprising terms.
One member of a makeshift visiting defence, Glenn Loovens, almost marked a rare starting appearance with an early goal. The Dutchman, though, headed a Kris Commons corner narrowly over.
Celtic had controlled that first half, without creating the further opportunities to prove as much – a matter which caused them damage a minute before the break.
Loovens was adjudged – by the assistant Stuart Macaulay rather than the referee, Mike Tumilty – to have barged over Richie Foran inside the penalty area.
Strangely Loovens did not collect a booking but Rooney made no mistake with the resultant spot-kick.
There remained time for Celtic to equalise before the break and Ledley did exactly that in stoppage time with a low drive, having collected a pass from Emilio Izaguirre.
After half time the Inverness midfielder Shane Sutherland stung the palms of Fraser Forster in the Celtic goal with a half-volley before Commons hit a free-kick narrowly wide at the other end.
Celtic's next set play proved decisive. Although the substitute James Forrest stooped to head home Ki Sung-yueng's cross, it was Ledley who connected and again took the acclaim of his team-mates and the visiting support.
The Inverness manager, Terry Butcher, left his seat in the main stand to berate the fourth official over the handing of a free-kick to Celtic in the first place and had plenty to say about the decision after the match.
"Had it happened the other end, it wouldn't have been given," Butcher said. "The Celtic fans jumped up and down and screamed and shouted as they do and the referee gives it and books my player as well when the ball was already out before the player hit the deck, so I just think the referee has got to be a bit stronger."
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