Neil Lennon may have viewed this fixture as an inconvenience, perhaps even with an element of trepidation. By full-time, the Celtic manager would have been cheered by the forceful performances of players not accustomed to first-team exposure.
Lennon has highlighted Tuesday night's visit of Juventus as the biggest match of his managerial tenure. Celtic's return to the last 16 of the Champions League is quite obviously more important than a Saturday lunchtime, Scottish Premier League fixture in Inverness at a time when Lennon's men are cantering towards their successful title defence.
That much, unsurprisingly, was illustrated by the Celtic team; nine changes were made to the side who beat Raith Rovers six days earlier. Yet Lennon was heartened by the willingness of his extended squad to grasp an opportunity. Miku marked a rare start with a goal, Tom Rogic made a fine debut, Dylan McGeouch impressed in midfield and a shadow Celtic defence restricted the prolific Inverness striker Billy McKay to the periphery of the match.
"I think we were shown a glimpse of what is coming through at the club," Lennon said. "We played a lot of young players and I thought they were fantastic. Some of them will have received a huge shot in the arm, confidence-wise. I threw the challenge down to the players today. For the young players I just don't know how they are going to cope with first-team football. You have to remember Inverness were at full strength."
Lennon expects to have Emilio Izaguirre fit for the visit of Juventus. James Forrest, too, will be available. There is a doubt about the influential Georgios Samaras and Efe Ambrose is almost certain not to start due to his exertions for Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations. Juventus have a doubt over Andrea Pirlo.
"I have a fair idea what my team will be," Lennon confirmed. Things had actually started poorly here for Celtic. Hesitation in their backline over an Aaron Doran cross led to Nick Ross picking up the loose ball and scoring past the returning Fraser Forster. The goalkeeper, who had been suffering from a neck strain, will surely need to look sharper during 180 minutes against Juventus.
Celtic also benefitted from some generous refereeing. Doran, while scarpering to meet a through ball, was clearly hauled back by Paddy McCourt with Craig Thomson inexplicably choosing not even to award a free-kick, let alone show a card to the Northern Ireland international.
Celtic's scoring response arrived after excellent work from Rogic, with a cut-back from the young Australian finding Kris Commons. The midfielder supplied a fierce finish from there. Rogic almost sent Celtic in front before the interval, but instead shot narrowly over.
McGeouch's cross, though, allowed Rami Gershon to mark his own first Celtic start with a headed goal. Caley Thistle came close to a reply as Beram Kayal provided a last-ditch tackle to deny Ross Draper, 12 yards from goal. Later, the Celtic substitute kicked a McKay effort off his own goalline.
A brisk Celtic counterattack settled the destination of the three points. Tony Watt fed Anthony Stokes, who in turn played in Miku; the on-loan Getafe man stroked home from there. Miku was denied a late goal when the post halted his audacious backflick.
Inverness, who excelled in the first half of the season, must now guard against their campaign petering out amid a troubling spell of results. "I didn't feel we played badly," their manager, Terry Butcher, said. "The chances that fell to us inside the penalty box, unfortunately, didn't fall McKay's way."
Not even the news that Rangers have offered Juventus facilities at Murray Park, Rangers training centre, could alter Lennon's positive mood.
"Have they?" Celtic's manager said. "I wasn't aware of that. I have no comment to make about Rangers. They can do what they like."