Match ends, Inverness CT 0, Motherwell 1.
Wes Fletcher's debut strike earned Motherwell a valuable opening three points as they look to consign last season's relegation fight to history.
Stephen Pearson gathered outside the box, his low shot was parried and Fletcher was in the right place to tap home with ease.
A Scott McDonald penalty was saved by Caley Thistle's Owain Fon Williams.
Inverness were ineffective up front with no attempts on target, a statistic that will concern manager John Hughes.
A good start was exactly what visiting manager Ian Baraclough desired after last season's relegation fight and he couldn't have wished for more.
His side seized on possession near the edge of the opposition box, Pearson had his low effort parried, but Fletcher assuredly tapped home for a dream debut goal.
Motherwell seemed intent to allow the home side possession, keep their shape and counter effectively, while Inverness struggled to build any momentum early on and again looked light up front.
A great rolling turn on the right edge of the box allowed Fletcher an angle, but his left-foot shot curled a yard wide of the far post.
Marvin Johnson gathered in a central area and drove forward, a deflection stopping his impressive surge.
Johnson then demonstrated magnificent running and dribbling skill as he beat three players and was upended by Danny Devine, resulting in a clear penalty.
McDonald took responsibility, but Fon Williams read his strike and impressively held on low to his left.
Hughes was clearly concerned and just after the half hour mark replaced Nathaniel Wedderburn with Andrea Mbuyi Mutombo, a move that appeared tactical.
A key factor in Caley Thistle's success last season was few injuries and suspensions, but an injury to Gary Warren meant that, by kick off in this second half, the defence of Draper, Devine, Horner and Raven was unrecognisable from last season.
Motherwell seemed marginally less threatening in the second half, although Johnson's long-range effort was tipped wide by Fon Williams.
Johnson went close again with a close-range effort, McDonald followed up and it was cleared off the line when a second goal seemed inevitable.
The crowd became restless as the home side struggled to create much threat.
The main threat came for a late set-piece in a great position, but Greg Tansey tried to float it over the wall and it deflected away.
Motherwell seemed comfortable and, while they committed less forward as the game proceeded, Josh Law and Louis Moult both went close.
- 25Fon Williams
- 5WarrenBooked at 1minsSubstituted forPolworthat 43'minutes
- 6MeekingsSubstituted forHornerat 45'minutes
- 15WedderburnSubstituted forMbuyi-Mutomboat 33'minutes
- 7Lopez Robles
- 8PearsonBooked at 38minsSubstituted forLeitchat 46'minutes
- 9FletcherSubstituted forMoultat 67'minutes
- 77McDonaldSubstituted forClarksonat 83'minutes
- Crawford Allan
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Inverness CT 0, Motherwell 1.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Owain Fon Williams.
Attempt saved. David Clarkson (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Josh Law (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Substitution, Motherwell. David Clarkson replaces Scott McDonald.
Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Louis Laing.
Ross Draper (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Louis Moult (Motherwell).
Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Keith Lasley.
Attempt blocked. Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Lewis Horner (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Scott McDonald (Motherwell).
Attempt missed. Marvin Johnson (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Attempt blocked. Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Greg Tansey (Inverness CT).
Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Danny Devine (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Louis Moult (Motherwell).
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Danny Devine.