A BRACE for captain Gary Warren helped Caley Thistle on their way to an opening 3-0 Betfred Cup win over Brechin City.
Warren struck twice in the first half, both goals coming from set pieces, as the new-look Inverness made sure there were to be no opening-game jitters.
George Oakley marked his first start for the club with a goal in the second half, rounding off a comfortable afternoon.
Brechin offered little going forward and were easily second-best, on a day where John Robertson marked his second managerial stint with a win.
Caley Thistle handed debuts to Mark Ridgers, Oakley, John Baird, Riccardo Calder and Collin Seedorf, with Joe Chalmers and Matty Elsdon on the bench.
Visitors Brechin, just promoted to the Championship, were struggling through injuries and suspensions, able to name just four substitutes – including manager Darren Dods.
They certainly wasted no time in getting into the game, with Isaac Layne planting a free-kick straight at Ridgers from distance.
Jake Mulraney was a frustrating figure for the Caley Jags last season, due to his lack of an end product. He looks to have worked on that side of his game, delivering a number of balls early into the box.
It was from the left that the opening goal came on 20 minutes, with Liam Polworth’s corner met by Warren, who headed down and past Graeme Smith.
Inverness were starting to click into gear, with Oakley’s perseverance retaining possession on the far side, before playing the ball back to Iain Vigurs, whose effort was deflected over.
Euan Spark sent a header over and Ally Love shot wide from close range to keep Inverness honest but they endured a further setback on 33 minutes as Warren turned predator again.
Vigurs was cute rather than direct with a free-kick, rolling it to Polworth, who launched a speculative driven ball into the penalty area. Warren met it coming the other way, diverting it past Smith.
Dods’s side were unable to deal with the hosts from set pieces, with Ross Draper glancing Vigurs’ corner on to the roof of the net before the break.
Baird flicked over from another corner and as if the lesson had not been learned, Oakley punished Brechin further from a Vigurs delivery and planted his header into the bottom corner.
The game was dead and buried as a contest, with Brechin offering little going forward and the Caley Jags content to play keep-ball against the tiring part-timers.
Mulraney was given a deserved reprieve after an impressive afternoon’s work and took a standing ovation from the home crowd.
Chalmers and Elsdon were handed debuts late on as Inverness saw out the closing stages for an opening victory.
CALEY THISTLE: Ridgers; Seedorf, Mckay, Warren, Calder, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Elsdon, 83), Mulraney (Chalmers, 72), Baird, Oakley. Subs unused: Esson, Raven, Stark, Wilson, MacDonald. Booked: Warren.
BRECHIN CITY: Smith; McLean, Dyer, Fusco, Crighton, Spark (Ford, 84), Orsi, Lynas, Jackson, Layne, Love (Sinclair, 78). Subs unused: O’Neil, Dods. Booked: Love.
Referee: B Cook.