Brian Rice pleased to see new Ross County boss John Hughes back in the dugout

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(Image credit: Lynne Cameron)

Hamilton boss Brian Rice is glad to see John Hughes back in the dugout after an “unbelievable” amount of time out of the game.

Hughes was appointed Ross County boss on Monday following the dismissal of Stuart Kettlewell after the Staggies’ defeat to Hamilton in Dingwall on Saturday.

The former Falkirk, Hibernian and Livingston manager’s last job as boss was a short spell with Raith Rovers in 2017 which ended in relegation from the Championship.

Rice – who revealed one Hamilton player had tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss upcoming matches against Livingston, Celtic and St Johnstone – was assistant to Hughes at Falkirk, Hibernian and Inverness and was incredulous that ‘Yogi’  was left idling for so long.

He said: “It is criminal that he has never been back in, in the last few seasons.

“Yogi’s CV stands up there with anyone else in Scottish football, take out the Old Firm. Taking lower clubs to cup finals, to semi-finals, to get them to Europe.

“It is unbelievable that he has never been brought back in so great credit to Ross County for giving him the opportunity because he will galvanise them.

“I sometimes get the feeling that people get maybe a little bit scared of him because of this big brash boy – but they don’t know John at all.

“Me and him stayed together up at Inverness and he is 24/7, 365 days of the year.

“He wants things done properly. He wants a club that is run properly. He is a model professional.

“I think he gets frustrated a wee bit about the lack of professionalism at times with players and on the other side of it.

“It is fantastic that Ross County has given him this opportunity and I am absolutely delighted.

“When he walks into a room he lightens it up. When he goes in there things will change.

“The players will definitely get a lift from him, from his personality and his intensity.”

Rice was also pleased that Livingston, whom Accies host on Wednesday, have made David Martindale permanent boss after four wins out of four as caretaker.

He said: “It is fantastic that David has got the job. He thoroughly deserves his chance.

“I get on really well with him and I think he will give Livingston a boost and a bit of stability. They have been on a good run. He couldn’t have done any more.”

Hamilton have not named the player that tested positive for Covid-19 and who will self-isolate for 10 days.

Rice said: “I have spoken to him and he is obviously very disappointed.

“He hasn’t got any symptoms, he has just come up positive.

“Having to self-isolate for 10 days, it is not nice for anybody and especially at this time of the year.

“They are only human beings, they have families and kids.

“It is really disappointing and it is very sad it’s happening at this time of the year.”

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