CALEY Thistle were on the receiving end of a 5-1 drubbing at East End Park as Dunfermline ran riot.
First-half goals from Callum Smith, Lee Ashcroft and Joe Cardle were countered by Iain Vigurs, before David Hopkirk put them three clear in the second half.
Cardle struck again as the game reached its conclusion as Allan Johnston’s side reinforced their dominance.
Such a heavy defeat early in the campaign has consigned Inverness to the bottom of the pile, with jeers coming from the travelling support at the end.
John Robertson recalled Collin Seedorf after he missed the last two games with illness, with David Raven dropping back to the bench. Jake Mulraney took the place of the departed Ross Draper, with Liam Polworth shifting into the centre of midfield.
After the tumultuous week they had, losing Draper to Ross County and the subsequent fall-out, Inverness needed a positive start. They did not get out.
A long ball over the top caught the Caley Thistle defence high, with Mark Ridgers hesitant to then come out and meet Smith. When he did he timed the tackle well but Smith kept the ball, composing himself and rolling the ball back into the unguarded net.
Dunfermline started the far better side, with Inverness looking vulnerable to the ball over the top. Even former Caley Jag Nat Wedderburn, who had a less than stellar spell in the Highlands, was getting shots away on goal.
After John Baird saw a shot deflected over, a Caley Thistle corner soon provided the basis for the Pars’ second. Sean Murdoch caught Brad Mckay’s header at the second attempt, picked out David Hopkirk on the counter and after he was allowed to carry the ball for the best part of 40 yards, he forced Ridgers to palm the ball away from the top corner.
Kallum Higginbotham swung in the corner and Ashcroft towered above the defence to force the ball beyond Ridgers on the line.
It had the makings of a drubbing after a lacklustre opening for the visitors but a bit of good fortune gave them a lifeline. Mulraney was felled on the Inverness right, Vigurs delivered the ball with pace from the free-kick and it evaded everyone before nestling inside Murdoch’s far post.
Inverness then started to grow into the game, getting some joy down the flanks, but threw away the momentum three minutes before the break.
Two defenders stood off Cardle on the edge of the area, allowing him to pick his spot and he duly delivered, curling a wonderful effort in off the far post.
The visitors needed to respond again and it seemed the most likely route would be from a set piece, with Vigurs’ crafty quick free-kick giving George Oakley a free shot at goal, which was blocked by Murdoch.
When the fourth goal came on the 67th minute, it was almost a carbon-copy of the third. Higginbotham found Hopkirk and Mckay backed off him on the edge of the box, giving him to pick his spot in the top corner past a stranded Ridgers.
It got even worse for the Caley Jags, with Cardle rattling in a deflected fifth late on.
DUNFERMLINE: Murdoch; Williamson, Talbot (Martin, 70), Morris, Ashcroft, Higginbotham, Wedderburn (Splaine, 80), Smith, Shiels, Cardle, Hopkirk (Lochhead, 74). Subs unused: Gill, M’Voto, Paton, Aird. Booked: Morris.
CALEY THISTLE: Ridgers; Seedorf, Elsdon, Mckay, Chalmers, Mulraney (Cooper, 70), Polworth, Vigurs (Raven, 80), Calder, Baird, Oakley (Zschusschen, 70). Subs unused: Esson, Bell, MacDonald. Booked: Oakley, Elsdon, Polworth, Mckay.