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John Hughes eyeing more success in the Highlands after Ross County appointment

Soccer – William Hill Scottish Cup Final – Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Falkirk – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

John Hughes is determine to taste more success in the Highlands after being appointed Ross County manager.

Chairman Roy MacGregor moved quickly to replace Stuart Kettlewell, who was sacked moments after Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat by Hamilton left County four points adrift at the foot of the Scottish Premiership.

Hughes has had spells as manager of Falkirk, Hibernian, Livingston, Hartlepool, Inverness and Raith Rovers and achieved his best success at County’s local rivals.

The former Celtic player guided Caley Thistle to the Scottish Cup trophy in 2015, the League Cup final a year earlier, and a third-placed finish in the top flight, before resigning in 2016.

Hughes celebrates at Hampden with his daughters

Hughes celebrates at Hampden with his daughters (Jeff Holmes/PA)

The 56-year-old has not managed a club since a short and unhappy spell as Raith boss ended with relegation to the third tier of Scottish football in 2017.

Hughes, whose first game in charge will be a trip to Celtic Park on Wednesday, told Ross County’s YouTube channel: “It’s been a long time.

“I have enjoyed my time off, living the life as they say, seeing the kids growing up. That was a big, big part of me leaving Inverness.

“Now they are at an age where I need to get out so I am absolutely delighted to get this opportunity.”

Speaking of his previous spell in the Highlands, from 2013 to 2016, Hughes said: “First and foremost I will always be grateful to Inverness for giving me that opportunity and I had a wonderful two-and-a-half years and good success.

“Hopefully we can bring that same success to here.

“But I have always had a great rapport with the chairman and the people at Ross County.

“They are good people up in the Highlands and you wouldn’t believe how much desire I have got in me to try and bring success and prove one or two people wrong as a manager and coach for my team because people are writing us off.”

County have not tasted victory in the league since September, picking up just two points from their last 10 league matches, scoring three goals and conceding 24 in the process.

However, they did win at Celtic Park in the Betfred Cup during that run.

John Hughes is back in management

John Hughes is back in management (Danny Lawson/PA)

Hughes said: “I have been here for the first day seeing the boys – very honest, very authentic in what they are trying to do. And you feel for them instantly because of the position we are in. It’s my job to rectify that.

“I have been in that position and the most important thing is to show courage.

“You can feel sorry for yourself and in many many ways it’s about mentality, so I have asked them to show real, strong mental character and give me everything they have got.

“It’s me trying to ignite them and saying ‘this is what I want’, and I have to make it simple for them. It’s small steps.

“It’s not going to be easy, I’ve not got a magic wand, it’s all hands on deck, everybody together, one for all and all for one.”