Match ends, Inverness CT 2, Dundee United 3.
Relegated Dundee United hung on with 10 men to end a turbulent week with only a seventh league win of a dismal season.
The Tangerines, who dismissed boss Mixu Paatelainen on Wednesday, were boosted by Simon Murray's early 30-yarder.
Murray helped a second over the line, off Caley defender Josh Meekings, in first-half injury-time before Edward Ofere tapped home the visitors' third.
But goals from Jordan Roberts and Liam Polworth ensured a nervy final 20 minutes, with Callum Morris sent off.
The United defender was booked for a clumsy lunge on Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo, and moments later received a second yellow card for wrestling with Roberts, leaving United to play the last 12 minutes a man short.
But despite intense pressure Caley Thistle couldn't muster a leveller, dealing a blow to their hopes of overtaking Dundee for seventh place.
Instead, after four straight defeats confirmed their drop into the Championship, victory under caretaker boss Gordon Young brought United a small measure of relief.
Young elected to use a back four, rather than three, and over the course of the match that seemed a sound decision. They seemed more stable for periods and able to frustrate their hosts, even if they were under siege late on.
United were first to threaten when former Inverness striker Ofere cut in from the left and shot at Owain Fon Williams, who had to react to block Scott Fraser's follow-up.
But the opener wasn't long in coming. Murray picked up possession centrally and thumped a powerful shot from distance which caught Fon Williams off guard and sailed into the net.
A similar effort minutes later was well off target but a sign of the striker's confidence despite United's predicament.
The hosts began to dominate possession and Mbuyi-Mutombo split the defence to release Miles Storey, but Eiji Kawashima did superbly to stay tall and block twice.
Storey curled in an excellent left-foot shot which almost sailed over the Japanese goalkeeper, but he recovered to tip over.
Instead United got the perfect tonic immediately before half-time, when Billy McKay's powerful shot was saved but the ball fell to Murray, who scrambled it on target.
The unfortunate Meekings' attempts to clear resulted in the ball bouncing off him onto the post and back into the net.
United hit Caley on the counter-attack to great effect 10 minutes into the second half, Murray releasing McKay who squared across goal to leaving Ofere a simple tap-in.
But 13 seconds after the re-start, Roberts drilled in a left-footed shot from the edge of the area to give Inverness hope.
Polworth was just off target with an angled drive before grabbing the second after Kawashima could only weakly parry Roberts' effort into his path.
At this point United, who have surrendered leads so often this season, were in disarray, with Morris' lack of discipline symptomatic of their problems.
But despite the obvious fragility on show, they somehow held out to frustrate the home side and earn themselves a modicum of pride.
- 25Fon Williams
- 14DevineSubstituted forWilliamsat 86'minutes
- 20PolworthSubstituted forForanat 76'minutes
- 11RobertsSubstituted forWilliamsat 83'minutes
- 39StoreyBooked at 73mins
- 17DurnanSubstituted forDonaldsonat 74'minutes
- 5MorrisBooked at 78mins
- 15MurraySubstituted forCooteat 77'minutes
- Don Robertson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Inverness CT 2, Dundee United 3.
Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Coll Donaldson.
Attempt missed. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Attempt missed. Edward Ofere (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.
Substitution, Inverness CT. Ryan Williams replaces Danny Devine.
Foul by Carl Tremarco (Inverness CT).
Billy McKay (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Inverness CT. Danny Williams replaces Jordan Roberts.
Foul by Danny Devine (Inverness CT).
Alistair Coote (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt saved. Jordan Roberts (Inverness CT) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Second yellow card to Callum Morris (Dundee United) for a bad foul.
Jordan Roberts (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Callum Morris (Dundee United).
Substitution, Dundee United. Alistair Coote replaces Simon Murray.
Substitution, Inverness CT. Richie Foran replaces Liam Polworth.
Callum Morris (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Callum Morris (Dundee United).