If Inverness Caley Thistle needed an indication of how tough it will be for them to return to the Premiership at the first time of asking this was certainly it.
Dunfermline took their home tally to a remarkable 16 goals in just three games with a rout that was thoroughly deserved and sparked stark warnings from new Caley manager John Robertson after consecutive Championship defeats.
“It’s annoying, it’s disappointing, it’s embarrassing,” he moaned.
“Some of our players in the dressing room think we’re a big team. We’re not, we’re not a big club. We’re a club that’s in transition. It’s a reality check and big reality check to our players”
Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston had called for a reaction following Wednesday night’s 6-0 thrashing from Rangers in the Betfred Cup and could not have hoped for a better one than a goal inside the first 80 seconds.
The vim and vigour of Callum Smith, just 17, was rewarded as he chased and harried and won a ricochet off Mark Ridgers before calmly slotting beyond the cover into the unguarded net.
The second was not long behind. Ridgers tipped David Hopkirk’s curling shot round for a corner that Kallum Higginbotham swept in and Lee Ashcroft’s header crept over the line.
Inverness grabbed a lifeline as Iain Vigurs’ in-swinging free-kick from the right evaded everyone to find the far corner of the net but thoughts of a comeback disappeared when Joe Cardle dipped a superb curling shot in off the post four minutes from the interval.
Caley Thistle needed the next goal to spark another revival but it was the Pars who got it midway through the second-half. Higginbotham clipped a pass in to Hopkirk 20 yards out and the striker controlled it before dipping a superb shot beyond Ridgers. Cardle applied the gloss when he danced past defender after defender to find the net in the last minute.
“That sums up the players’ character,” beamed Johnston. “Everyone was judging them today to see how Wednesday was going to affect them and I think they showed the quality and belief they’ve got to go and win games. I’m delighted.”