New manager Richie Foran was serenaded by the Inverness Caley Thistle support towards the end of this win over Dunfermline but it was Iain Vigurs who deserved the plaudits for the perfect hat-trick that earned them a clinical victory.
Vigurs gave Inverness the lead after just 15 minutes but it was to last just 12 minutes before skipper Andy Geggan equalised with an incredible fourth goal in three games in the competition.
However, a superb Vigurs free-kick restored Caley Thistle’s advantage four minutes from the interval and on-loan Hearts winger Billy King doubled it shortly after half-time. A third by Vigurs and Carl Tremarco’s late header made it a profitable trip south for the Highlanders.
Only time will tell whether Foran’s Inverness will prove as hell-bent on adopting as patient a passing game as the teams sent out by predecessor John Hughes, but in the opening spell here there was little opportunity for them to even attempt such a philosophy.
Their hosts, buoyed by comfortable victories over Arbroath and Cowdenbeath so far in the competition, harried their Premiership visitors from the off. Time on the ball was at a premium for the Highlanders as the Pars set about knocking them off their stride from the first whistle but it was not to last.
However, with Kallum Higginbotham and Joe Cardle threatening in attack, it was a mistake at the other end of the pitch that allowed Inverness to take a scarcely-deserved lead.
Ben Richards-Everton sparked the calamity with a backpass with far too much zip on it. Goalkeeper David Hutton’s poor clearance compounded the trouble and Vigurs brilliantly curled his effort into the empty net from 40 yards out with his right foot.
Until that moment, Dunfermline had been building an impressive head of steam but the energy and momentum visibly drained from the Fifers.
However, it proved only a momentary lapse and the home side drew level in the 28th minute. Recent signing Higginbotham was the creative force, curling in a dangerous cross from the right flank that midfielder Geggan attacked with the most determination to head into the roof of the net from six yards out.
Caley Thistle’s greatest threat was Jake Mulraney, the former QPR winger’s blistering pace causing the left-hand side of the Pars defence.
When one such meandering run was halted on the edge of the box by Lewis Spence, Vigurs curled a sublime free-kick in off the underside of the crossbar with his trusted left boot to give the Highlanders the lead again in the 42nd minute.
The visitors also required some assistance for their third eight minutes after the break. King cut in from his left-wing beat but it is debatable if his drive would have found the net had it not been for a huge deflection off Ryan Williamson.
When Vigurs headed in the fourth in the 66th minute it was all over for Dunfermline and their misery was completed when Tremarco headed in a late fifth after Greg Tansey’s free-kick had rebounded from the post.