CALEY Thistle’s winning pre-season run came to an end on Tuesday night when Second Division side Brechin City hit back from a goal down to win 2-1.
Preparations were well underway at Glebe Park for Sunday’s visit of newco Rangers in the televised Ramsden’s Cup clash, but for SPL side Inverness this game as all about sharpening up further ahead of next weekend’s SPL opener away to St Mirren.
The Caley Jags won all the games against Highland League opposition this month, as well as beating Third Division Elgin City 1-0 then on Saturday League One opponents Coventry City 3-1.
With injuries to new signings David Raven, Gary Warren and Simon King, the central defensive pairing was skipper Richie Foran and Josh Meekings.
Brechin had the best two chances in the first half an hour as Craig Malloy drilled a 20-yarder just wide before Dave McKenna steered a shot the wrong side of the post after getting the better of teenager Mathew Cooper.
ICT responded in the shape of Welsh international Owain Tudur Jones, who returned from his lengthy spell on the sidelines, but his effort was gathered by keeper Michael Andrews.
In an entertaining tussle, the Angus side were next to have a go and Johnny Brown watched his free-kick from 20 yards smash back off the crossbar.
It was, however, Caley Thistle who edged in front when Andrew Shinnie fed the ball to brother Graeme, who unleashed a terrific low drive to leave Andrews beaten just before the break.
Brechin charged into action early in the second half and only a terrific stop from goalkeeper Ryan Esson prevented McKenna from scoring.
The hosts did draw level though on 63 minutes when McKenna netted from the spot after Tudur Jones brought Molley down in the box.
Caley Thistle then upped their game, but it was Brechin who grabbed the winner late on when McKenna created room inside the penalty area before sending a powerful drive past Esson.
ICT have a team away to Highland League team Wick Academy on Wednesday night before facing another in the shape of Brora Rangers at home on Saturday in a closed door game.