Dundee failed to come up with the post-derby response that was required as they slipped to another Championship defeat.
With the gap to Dundee United still 12 points and both clubs now having played the same games, only the most optimistic of Dark Blues’ supporters would envisage their team winning the title from here.
You would always expect a hard game in the Highlands against a side with promotion aspirations of their own, so there is no shame in losing to John Robertson’s men. But Caley Thistle were coming into this contest struggling for form, having won one out of their last six.
Given the lead that United have constructed not even a draw would have been a good result for James McPake’s team.
With Jamie Ness back in the starting XI, Dundee dominated possession but they were caught by a sucker-punch on 17 minutes when the hosts scored with their first proper attack of the game.
David Carson beat Sean Mackie on the right and delivered a ball to the back post where Aaron Doran did well to finish from a very tight angle.
The nearest Dundee came to a first half equaliser was when Coll Donaldson directed a header towards his own goal and it took a Carl Tremarco clearance off the line to prevent an equaliser.
Just after the hour mark it should have been two goals for Caley Thistle and two for Doran.
He beat the Dundee offside trap and was one v one against Conor Hazard but the on-loan keeper won that duel to keep his side in the game.
By this point Josh Todd and Danny Johnson had come on for Shaun Byrne and Paul McGowan and on 66 minutes Todd dragged a low shot past the post.
A Johnson volley on 82 minutes didn’t miss the target by much but that was as close as Dundee came to an equaliser and they drop down to fourth in the table.