Shane Sutherland scored one and set up the winner as Inverness came from behind to beat Partick Thistle 2-1 at Firhill in the first leg of the cinch Premiership play-off quarter-final.
Robbie Crawford put the home side in front in the 54th minute but Sutherland netted on the rebound with 19 minutes left.
The wide player then set up Austin Samuels to put Caley Thistle in the driving seat ahead of Friday’s second leg with a tie against Arbroath on offer for the winners.
Inverness looked slightly the more dangerous team in a tight first half and home goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon made comfortable saves from Reece McAlear and Billy McKay.
The hosts had an escape when Logan Chalmers went down after nutmegging Tunji Akinola in the penalty box. There was clear contact but referee Steven McLean ruled it was a collision rather than a foul.
Caley Thistle had the best chance of the half in stoppage time but Robbie Deas fired wide from a tight angle after taking down Sean Welsh’s diagonal ball.
Ian McCall’s side came out strongly after the interval and Brian Graham was denied at close range by Mark Ridgers before the striker set up Crawford with a clever reverse pass for the midfielder to fire home at the near post.
Nine of Thistle’s last 10 games at Firhill had yielded only one goal or less so the odds were stacked against the visitors but they fought back strongly.
Chalmers had a shot saved and Sutherland was off target several times before netting when Sneddon spilled McKay’s 25-yard strike.
Sutherland turned provider with a teasing cross in between Sneddon and his defence which was stabbed home from six yards by former Wolves and Aberdeen striker Samuels in the 81st minute.
On-loan Rangers striker Juan Alegria had a great chance to level when David Carson slipped as he passed back towards Ridgers. The substitute shot wide as he was charged down by the goalkeeper.