Match ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Inverness CT 2.
If Hamilton Academical had any illusions as to the scale of the task in staying in the Scottish Premiership, it was laid bare as they slumped to an opening-day home defeat.
Defensive frailties were their main downfall as Inverness Caledonian Thistle began the season in fine style.
Billy McKay got off the mark as he took advantage of a Mikey Devlin error.
The hosts were sliced open again as Ryan Christie added a second to secure an easy victory for John Hughes' team.
The Highlanders looked every bit the experienced and settled Scottish Premiership outfit they are. On this evidence, they look a good bet for a top-six finish again, but it could be a long, hard season for Accies.
At the very least, player-manager Alex Neil would have expected his side to keep things tight at the back as they returned to the top flight for the first time in three years.
But the home fans watched in horror as Devlin's attempt to guide the ball back to Michael McGovern fell woefully short and McKay seized upon the opportunity, lofting the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.
Neil should have levelled for Accies but instead headed wide from a Danny Redmond free-kick and his side were soon made to pay.
A slick passing move ended with Ross Draper slipping the ball to Danny Williams and, although his shot was kept out by McGovern, Christie was on hand to knock the ball over the line.
Inverness goalkeeper Dean Brill was scarcely troubled, with a Louis Longridge drive and a Dougie Imrie header about as taxing as it got until the closing 20 minutes.
The introduction of Mickael Antonie-Curier injected a spark into Accies' play and he set up Imrie, whose cross appeared to be handled, but referee Don Robertson thought otherwise.
Antoine-Curier was then denied himself by Brill, the keeper pushing away the striker's fierce shot.
Caley Thistle substitute Marley Watkins was twice denied in the closing stages, first by the crossbar and then by a terrific save from McGovern.
However, that had no bearing on the outcome, which rarely seemed in doubt.
- 3HendrieBooked at 75minsSubstituted forRyanat 80'minutes
- 7ImrieBooked at 28mins
- 9ScotlandSubstituted forAntoine-Curierat 68'minutes
- 17LongridgeSubstituted forCrawfordat 45'minutes
- 19WilliamsSubstituted forDoranat 75'minutes
- 8DraperBooked at 64mins
- 22ChristieSubstituted forRossat 88'minutes
- 4VincentSubstituted forWatkinsat 74'minutes
- Don Robertson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Inverness CT 2.
Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Michael Devlin.
Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ross Draper (Inverness CT).
Substitution, Inverness CT. Nick Ross replaces Ryan Christie.
Attempt missed. Billy McKay (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Michael McGovern.
Attempt saved. Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.
Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Marley Watkins (Inverness CT).
Andy Ryan (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by David Raven (Inverness CT).
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Andy Ryan replaces Stephen Hendrie.
Attempt missed. Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Foul by Alex Neil (Hamilton Academical).
Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Marley Watkins (Inverness CT) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the right side of the box.
Stephen Hendrie (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Stephen Hendrie (Hamilton Academical).