Familiar surroundings but cup of woe.
The difference between the sides proved to be former on-loan ICT player Darren Mackie. He returned to Pittodrie at the end of 2003-04, fought his way back into the side and his two goals put Caley Thistle out of the Scottish Cup.
With Zander Diamond injured Aberdeen included defender Richie Byrne, newly signed from Dunfermline. Craig Brewster's starting eleven was unchanged but reserve keeper Mike Fraser was injured and his bench place was taken by 17-year old Jonathon Smith, only his second squad appearance.
After good early play at both ends it was Caley Thistle who could easily have opened the scoring when a Richie Hart corner was headed onto the post by Brewster. In the event it was Aberdeen who scored first in 15 minutes. A Kevin McNaughton cross from the right was headed home by Mackie despite the presence of two defenders and the advancing Mark Brown.
Nine minutes later a Richie Hart free kick into the box was touched in by Brewster from six yards - Russell Anderson and Markus Heikkinen were both in close attendance but Brewster's strength won the battle.
Stuart Golabek then hit the bar and Brown saved from Steven Craig before the Dons once more took the lead in 34 minutes. A 22 yard drive from Jamie Winter took a slight deflection but Brown still managed an excellent diving save but Mackie was in like a flash to score from the rebound.
Half Time: 1-2
Aberdeen should have sewn the game up in 51 minutes but Noel Whelan missed an open goal from six yards then Craig's follow-up header hit the bar. A good run by Mackie in 77 minutes led to another golden chance for Whelan. Mackie was on a hat-trick but unselfishly chose to pass to his strike partner - Whelan sliced it wide from eight yards. With five minutes left Mackie was again through but Brown took the ball at his feet.
Four added minutes stretched to nearly six but Aberdeen did not look like surrendering their lead. In the dying seconds Esson came out of his box to clear upfield and Brown took the ball at the edge of his area with John Stewart chasing.
Full Time: 1-2
The whistle went and Caley Thistle were out of the cup. The good news is that they can now concentrate on SPL survival.
Inverness CT: 1 (Brewster 24)
Team: Brown; Tokely, Munro, Dods, Golabek, Wilson, Duncan, Hart (McBain 70), Juanjo (Fetai 77),
Subs not used: Smith; McCaffrey, Prunty - Booked: Hart (60)
Aberdeen: 2 (Mackie 15, 34)
Team: Esson; Hart, Heikkinen, Anderson, McNaughton, Byrne, Clark, Winter, Craig (Stewart 69),
Mackie (McGuire 88), Whelan (Adams 80)
Subs not used: Morrison, Blanchard - Booked: Clark
Attendance: 10595 - Referee: Willie Young