Queen of the South crashed to a seventh consecutive defeat as Caley Thistle stepped-up their bid for a promotion play-off place with a comfortable win.
The Doonhamers, in danger of being sucked into the relegation dogfight, were desperate to arrest their decline but they were behind early on when Kyle Jacobs lost possession, allowing Aaron Doran to dart into the box and squeeze the ball home from a tight angle.
Lyndon Dykes sent a header inches wide as the home side tried to hit back immediately but the Highlanders doubled their advantage when Brad McKay met Liam Polworth’s corner with a firm header into the top corner of the net.
The home side responded with efforts from Andy Stirling and Stephen Dobbie but neither troubled Mark Ridgers in the vistors’ goal.
At the other end Jordan White’s shot forced a diving save from Alan Martin before the home keeper breathed a sigh of relief as Polworth’s header rebounded from the bar.
Ridgers denied Queens a lifeline goal just before the break with a diving save to keep out Fraser Aird’s netbound shot. The Caley keeper was in the thick of it again on the restart, saving well from Dykes and Dobbie.