RANGERS finally ended a two-year winless streak against Inverness to move within two points of Celtic on a night made significant by a changing of the guard.
Kenny Miller, it seems, is on his way to Turkey to pursue a new career with Bursaspor and at the same time Nikica Jelavic returned to the Rangers ranks after over three months out.
They say timing is everything and if the big Croatian can fill the gap left by Miller then a third title in succession is undoubtedly on the cards.
He was a little rusty and missed a couple of decent chances but there were clear indications that he is ready to resume where he left off before the ankle injury at Tynecastle.
In the end it was Steve Davis who won the game for the Light Blues giving them their first win over ICT since January 2009 and it was so vital.
Now Tynecastle beckons on Saturday and how poetic it would be if Jelavic could prove successful there.
Rangers had made a purposeful start and it seemed as if they would continue where they left off at the weekend against Hamilton.
Steven Whittaker, a pre-match injury doubt, was highly influential due to his athleticism.
He burst forward to great effect with just two minutes played and released James Beattie who had peeled away to the right and his low cross was fumbled by Ryan Esson but Kyle Lafferty could not capitalise.
Then a minute later Whittaker popped up on the right to produce another good ball this time into the box and Lafferty shot over the bar under pressure from Chris Innes.
However, Caley Thistle showed why they have been such a thorn in Rangers’ flesh when they came so close to scoring in 12 minutes.
The Highlanders won a corner on the right. Graeme Shinnie whipped it over to find Richie Foran at the back post and his looping header was pushed onto the bar by Allan McGregor,
In the scramble, Rangers somehow managed to get the ball away but it was a clear warning.
It seemed to have an effect on Rangers who had lost their fluency but Vladimir Weiss tried to grab the game by the scruff of the neck in 23 minutes when he burst into the middle and fired a right foot shot but it flew just wide.
Lafferty hit the side netting a minute later when he was played in by Davis and the same players combined again in 33 minutes with a similar result.
It was a good ball from Davis but from a central area but Lafferty shot wide.
Finally it was left to the creative midfield star to ease the tension at Ibrox when he struck just two seconds before 45 minutes had elapsed and it was a great goal.
McCulloch laid the ball into his path some 20 yards out and Davis drove a low shot past Ryan Esson and in off the left hand post.
It was a moment of relief for the fans who were wondering if Inverness were going to frustrate Rangers again.
That said Rangers did not build on their breakthrough in the early stages of the second half and after a consultation between Walter Smith, Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall in 59 minutes it was decided changes were needed.
On came John Fleck for Weiss and then there was a rapturous welcome back for Nikica Jelavic who replaced James Beattie.
Over three months after his ankle injury at Tynecastle the big Croatian was back but within five minutes he was booked!
Craig Thomson showed him a yellow card for diving in the box after a challenge by Chris Innes.
However, two minutes later he showed what he was all about when he rose to meet Fleck’s corner from the right and his header seemed destined for the top left corner but Graeme Shinnie blocked it on the line.
The young full back had similarly rescued Inverness a minute earlier when Lafferty connected with Fleck’s quickly taken corner and Shinnie was in the right place to make the block.
The introduction of the two subs had given Rangers more menace up front with Fleck playing just behind Jelavic and Lafferty moving to the left wing.
Indeed Fleck looked to have played Jelavic in for a second Rangers goal in 72 minutes with a delightful chipped pass but the returning striker pulled his left foot shot wide.
Perhaps it was rustiness but the former Rapid Vienna missed an easier chance 10 minutes later – again set up by Fleck.
Davis started the move with a sliding pass into the left channel. Fleck picked out Jelavic but the ball seemed to stick in his feet and he fired over the bar from 14 yards.
A lack of sharpness is understandable given the length of time out but his failed attempts made for a nervous finish as Inverness suddenly pressurised the Rangers defence.
However, they held firm to secure the three points they needed.