JOHN Hughes is urging patience among disgruntled Inverness Caledonian Thistle supporters as he strives to implement his football philosophy.
In the thick of a highly demanding fixture list, Hughes says it has been hard to find the breathing space between matches to put across his ideas.
Hughes’ team face a Highland derby against Ross County in Dingwall tonight and he insists there is no turning back on his vision of a free-flowing, high-tempo passing game for the team he took over in November.
Frustration among a section of fans was audible on Tuesday night as Motherwell won 2-1 and Hughes has now seen his men secure just one win in their last nine matches.
Hughes said: “Up here at Inverness I’ve had some big, big games and we’ve played something like 14 times in the last eight weeks. Between games, we’re just recovering. We haven’t had time to go and coach and train and do all the shadow work. We need time to take it from the tactics board onto the training pitch and there’s not been time for that. There’s a lot of work to be done but the way they have bought into some of the stuff so far really pleases me.
“We’re just asking the fans to be a little bit more patient and buy into what we’re trying to do.
“If you see us when it works – Ross County last time, Aberdeen away, Hearts here – it’s great to watch. I’m in it with the supporters but I have to put cotton wool in my ears and keep my belief.
“In Scottish football, we moan about why we’re not playing a more attractive style but I’m a man who preaches it. If we’re winning 1-0 and passing the ball about, the cries of ‘Ole! Ole!’ go up. But if you’re 1-0 down and still trying to pass the ball supporters shout ‘boot it forward’. I’m honest enough to admit we should be passing the ball quicker at times but I’m 100 per cent convinced the players are loving what we’re trying to do here.”
Inverness will again be without captain Richie Foran and there are also fitness doubts over Aaron Doran and Danny Devine.
County defender Scott Boyd feels his side are hitting form at the right time as they bid to make sure they are nowhere near the play-off position.
County play their fifth consecutive game against top-six opposition tonight. They have only lost once during that run so far, against Motherwell, and took points off Aberdeen and Celtic in the last two games after earlier winning at St Johnstone.
“It has obviously been a tough run of games we have had and we have been fortunate to take points off two of the top teams in the division this season, so it gives us a lot of confidence going into these games,” said Boyd. “We’ve managed to tighten up, not just as a defence but as a whole team, and we’re looking a threat on the break as well, so it’s looking good going into the last six games of the season.”
County can move six points above second-bottom St Mirren, and equal with Hibernian, when they welcome their neighbours.