City slickers beaten
A thoroughly well-deserved victory for Caley Thistle thanks to a cool finish by Juanjo and converted free kicks from Craig Brewster and Barry Wilson.
For high-flying Hibs their first competitive visit to Inverness was a bitter one - bitterly cold and a bitterly disappointing result.
In early exchanges Roy McBain shot low and wide in 14 minutes and Ross Tokely blocked an overhead attempt by Derek Riordan in 21 minutes. Just after the half-hour mark a measured pass from Russell Duncan set Stuart Golabek free in the box and one-on-one with Simon Brown. As the ICT captain shot low to the keepers left he made a superb full-length diving save to keep the scoreline blank.
The opening goal came in 38 minutes when the Hibs defence failed to clear a Richie Hart corner from the right and Juanjo nipped in, rounded two defenders and hit high into the net from an acute angle.
Half Time: 1-0
It stood 1-0 at the break but the visitors should have equalised six minutes into the second half. Riordan seized on a short back-pass and headed for goal. He was forced wide by the diving Mark Brown and his angled shot came off the post. Grant Munro shepherded it away and the danger was past.
This proved to be a defining moment as Caley Thistle quickly went two ahead. McBain was brought down by Ian Murray 22 yards out and Brewster's low free kick found the corner of the net. Hibee Garry O'Connor came close in 62 minutes but his 25 yard shot came off the bar. This was a rare effort from the visitors who failed to find the form that had taken them to third in the league. They went three down in 77 minutes after Juanjo had been brought down 19 yards out, left of centre. Barry Wilson's free kick took a deflection of the wall and Simon Brown failed to clear despite the assistance of the post. The referee and his assistant decreed that the ball had crossed the line although many in the stadium were unsure. 3-0 it was and, with a minute left, substitute Graham Bayne nearly made it four. His drive from outside the box hit the post and Simon Brown made a superb save from the strikers follow-up.
Full Time: 3-0
A vital and unexpected win in the battle for SPL survival. Livingston beat Kilmarnock so the gap between eighth and twelfth is still ten points. On the other hand ICT are now just three points behind seventh-placed Kilmarnock with two games in hand. Now for Ibrox!
Inverness CT: 3 (Juanjo 38, Brewster 52, Wilson 77)
Team: Brown; Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson, Hart (Proctor 83), Duncan, McBain,
Juanjo (Fetai 78), Brewster (Bayne 78)
Subs not used: Fraser; McCaffrey, Hastings, Prunty - Booked: None
Team: Simon Brown; Whittaker, Caldwell, Smith, I Murray (Shiels 65), Murphy, Orman (Sproule 65),
A. Murray (McDonald 46), Scott Brown, O'Connor, Riordan
Subs not used: Brown, McCluskey, Morrow, Konte - Booked: None
Attendance: 4443 - Referee: John Underhill