A refreshed Arbroath headed to the Highlands to face Caley in the first-leg of the play-off finals.
The prize at stake couldn’t be higher, the winner over two legs knowing they’ll be a couple of games from mixing it in next season’s Premiership. The Lichties started well and Jack Hamilton caused problems inside the Caley box with a miss-hit shot which reached Scott Stewart.
Stewart got his effort away but the Caley defence scrambled clear.
From the corner Tam O’Brien should have done better with a header he sent well wide.
Michael Mckenna was the next to go close when Jack Hamilton again turned creator.
McKenna, though, couldn’t direct his shot on target.
Arbroath looked very much like a side which had enjoyed a decent rest while their hosts battled it out for a place in the final over two legs with Partick Thistle.
Derek Gaston was a spectator as Dick Campbell’s side dominated.
But the home side cracked in to life on 38 minutes when a Logan Chalmers drive came crashing off the top of Gaston’s crossbar.
Arbroath raced up the other end of the park and Mark Ridgers had to look smart to beat away a Nicky Low free-kick.
Low was in the thick of the action again during the early stages of the second-half when he raced in on goal, only for Danny Devine to scramble back and clear.
It was tense stuff and the decent chances on goal dried up.
Caley were guilty of wasting too many balls in the middle of the park but defended stoutly, refusing to let the Lichties in behind.
The best chance of the second-half fell to Austin Samuels on 67 but his close range shot was tipped around the post brilliantly by Gaston.
Inverness continued to press in the final stages of the game with Samuels causing problems on the left wing.
Campbell’s men had answers to every question asked by the home side and appeared comfortable.
Robbie Deas had a late opportunity for Caley but his drive was charged down by O’Brien.
Friday’s second leg kicks-off at 7.45pm.