RAITH Rovers defender Craig Barr admits there was never a dull moment under the wacky John Hughes during his time at Livingston.
However, the 27-year-old is now bidding to help the Stark’s Park side waltz into the Scottish Cup semi-finals at the expense of Hughes’ Inverness.
Barr played under Hughes for nine months during their time at the Lions and loved every minute of it – with one memorable moment being when the one-time Celtic defender exhibited his dancing ability in the dressing room. But after returning from a nightmare eight months on the sidelines, Barr would have no qualms about wiping the smile off Hughes’ face in the Highland capital today.
He said: “Yogi would come in every day and there’s always something he would do. There was one time in between training when we had the music on and one of the boys was dancing in the middle of the dressing room.
“The next thing, the door burst open and we thought we were going to get into trouble for having the music too loud and having a joke and a laugh. But Yogi jumped into the middle of the dressing room and then he started dancing as well. He was a good manager and good to play under, and he is a nice guy off the pitch as well.”
Barr, however, is well aware that Raith are the underdogs this afternoon against a Caley side who are pushing for Europe.
Barr added: “He has got Inverness flying. A word Yogi always uses is ‘philosophy’ when it comes to playing football.
“He can take that from team to team. At Livingston we grasped that and enjoyed it. So if he has taken that to Inverness, and they’re doing the same, then it is going to be a really tough game. But what Yogi won’t do is underestimate us.”
Barr made his Rovers debut in last weekend’s 2-0 victory at former club Livingston following a frustrating spell on the sidelines. After being forced to undergo a knee operation as soon as he signed last summer, the 27-year-old then had to wait on the bench despite being available since mid-December.
Having only signed a year-long deal after arriving from Airdrie, the centre-half feared he would never make an appearance for Rovers.
He added: “Coming to a new club, I was desperate to do well and continue where I left off. So to come in and have the start I did was nothing short of disastrous. Being injured anywhere, it’s a lonely place. There were times when I didn’t think my debut was going to come.
“I had been out for so long and, whether you admit it or not, it was getting me down – it was frustrating. I was at a new club and all I wanted to do was do well and show people what I could do and what I had to offer.”
Hughes confirmed Barr’s view that complacency will not be allowed in the Inverness camp today.
The home side, sitting third in the Scottish Premiership, may be expected to see off their Championship opponents. However, Hughes noted that the Kirkcaldy men went to Ibrox last month and beat Rangers 2-1 in the last round of the Cup, while his side came up short at the same venue when they went down 1-0 in the League Cup clash last September.
“We know what to expect,” said Hughes. “It is going to be a cracking game. You just need to look at what Raith did against Rangers, they did something that we couldn’t do, go to Ibrox and beat them. They are not a bad side. They are going well in the league and, if there is any complacency whatsoever, you just have to look at what they did in the last round.
“And I have had the opportunity to work with four or five of the players at Raith Rovers so I know what they are going to bring.
“It is going to be a tough, tough match and possibly one of our hardest matches of the season because of what is at stake. I am quite happy with the home draw.
“But we have to be quite sure we are at our best and, if we are at our best, then I am hoping we can take the game to them.”
The Highlanders go into the game on the back of a shock 2-1 defeat by bottom side Motherwell at Fir Park last week and, after three matches without a win, Hughes is looking to get back on track in the Cup. He said: “We were unlucky not to take something from the game last week so it is important that we get back to winning ways. So there is not a better game nor time to do it than the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup.”
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