Dundee United goalkeeper Cammy Bell earned his team what could be an invaluable bonus point as he saved two Inverness penalties in the shootout that ended this Betfred Cup group C clash.
With the match finishing 1-1 after 90 minutes, it was then on to the penalty shootout to see who would get two points rather than one.
Sub Tope Obadeyi scored first for United before ICT’s Carl Tremarco made it 1-1.
Coll Donaldson then found the back of the net for the visitors before Bell brilliantly dived to keep out Greg Tansey’s kick.
Next up was Stewart Murdoch for the Tangerines and, after he scored, Bell was the hero again as he saved from Ross Draper.
That left the stage clear to for Simon Murray to secure a 4-1 shootout victory for the visitors.
In regulation play, Scott Boden had opened the scoring for the Highlanders on 35 minutes with a close-range header but United made it 1-1 through a brilliant strike from Murdoch just a minute into the second half.
United made three changes to the line-up that kicked off the 6-1 win over Cowdenbeath on Tuesday night.
In came Donaldson to partner Mark Durnan in central defence; Blair Spittal got the nod ahead of Scott Fraser in midfield; and Dutch signing Nick van der Velden made his starting debut for the club, with Obadeyi dropping down to the bench.
After a quiet opening spell, United’s Cammy Smith cut inside from the left and curled a shot just wide of the far post on 10 minutes before Liam Polworth fired a volley over for the home side.
Good play from Van der Velden on 22 minutes saw him send captain Paul Dixon free up the left and the full-back’s cross flew across the face of goal without any takers.
Van der Velden then tested the Caley defence again with a freekick to the back post that was met by the head of Lewis Toshney. The ball crashed off the bar but the flag went up for an infringement and play was stopped.
On the half-hour the Dutchman had a great chance to score when the ball was squared to him inside the box by Smith following a slick passing move. However, he couldn’t quite get his footwork right and he was challenged before he could shoot.
Smith then went down in the box after going on a run but referee Euan Anderson was right to wave play on.
On 35 minutes, it was the Highlanders who took the lead with exactly the kind of move United boss Ray McKinnon had warned about pre-match.
Tremarco took a long throw-in from the left and the ball was flicked on by Gary Warren. Boden then pounced just a yard or so out to nod the ball past keeper Bell and into the Tangerines’ net to make it 1-0.
Murray tried to hit back for the visitors just two minutes later but his low drive was blocked by ICT goalie Cammy Mackay to keep the hosts ahead at the interval.
Dixon, who had gone down injured just before the break, was replaced by Sean Dillon for the second period.
The Tangerines made the perfect restart, levelling the game up at one apiece.
A sweeping move on 46 minutes saw Murray race down the right and cut the ball back to Spittal.
The young midfielder showed great composure to find Murdoch and the former Ross County man curled home a terrific strike from just outside the box that gave Mackay no chance.
After Smith had fired wide for United, Inverness then squandered a chance on the hour when Boden pulled his shot wide when in acres of space.
United goalie Bell did well to smother a half-volley from Boden before Smith had another penalty claim after falling to the floor up at the other end, once again ignored by ref Anderson.
The Tangerines brought on Obadeyi for Spittal on 67 minutes and, just seconds later, Murray missed a great chance to take the lead.
It was a mistake by Caley’s Draper just outside his own area that created the opening but the Tannadice striker pulled his shot wide of the post when he looked certain to find the net.
On 77 minutes, Bell did well to push away a freekick from Tansey before Henri Anier replaced Van der Velden.
United broke clear four minutes from time through Obadeyi but, while his pace was impressive, his shot was obvious and blocked. The same player then blasted the ball over from the left when a calmer cross might have been met by a teammate.
Smith pulled another strike wide in stoppage time and it was then on to the penalties, with Bell ensuring United came out on top.
Inverness CT: Mackay, Raven, Tremarco, McNaughton, Warren, Polworth, Draper, Vigurs (Mulraney 59), Tansey, Boden (Fisher 85), King. Subs not used: Fon Williams, Brown, Horner, Sutherland.
Dundee United: Bell, Dixon (Dillon 46), Durnan, Donaldson, Toshney, Spittal (Obadeyi 67), Murdoch, Murray, Smith, Flood, Van der Velden (Anier 78). Subs not used: Zwick, Fraser, Telfer, Souttar.
Referee: Euan Anderson.