John Hughes planning to lead Ross County next season after ensuring Scottish Premiership survival

Ross County manager John Hughes watches on from the stands at Fir Park. Picture: SNSRoss County manager John Hughes watches on from the stands at Fir Park. Picture: SNS
Ross County manager John Hughes watches on from the stands at Fir Park. Picture: SNS
John Hughes’ immediate at future Ross County has yet to be resolved but there is no doubt he wants to be the man to take the club forward after ensuring their Scottish Premiership survival for another season.

The 2-1 victory at Fir Park, achieved thanks to goals from Iain Vigurs and Michael Gardyne after Sam Foley’s opener for the hosts, was the third win on the bounce for the Staggies to finish the campaign and the second game in succession they came from behind to pick up all three points.

Hughes has certainly cleared the objective given to him when he agreed to succeed Stuart Kettlewell in December on a contract until the end of the campaign. County were four points adrift at the time, and managing not only to achieve survival, but to do so without the drama of the Scottish Premiership play-offs, is certainly an impressive achievement.

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But it remains to be seen whether owner Roy McGregor views Hughes as the right man to take the club into their third consecutive Premiership campaign.

"Everything, honestly, has been on hold,” said Hughes. “Even down to the pitch, in case we had to go into the play-offs. I was talking to the groundsman the other day and he said he didn't know if we'd be able to play out League Cup games here because of the time scale.

"I have to speak to the chairman and that means all the players will be away. But it's not all my decision, we have to sit down and have a real talk about where we want to go and how we want to do it. It has to be planned strategically for the best of Ross County.

“I'll be back up there tonight and we're in tomorrow for a Covid debrief. I will be sitting down with the chairman and I will be up there for a couple of weeks. It's important I do that. I have not been home since I took the job, with the Covid. That's what you have to do, you have to commit."

Hughes also made sure to pay tribute to the supporters after delivering a happy ending on what’s been a miserable campaign as they’ve not only been locked out of grounds, but also forced to see their team struggle.

He added: “I am absolutely delighted for the boys and everyone connected to Ross County. It’s been a hard year with Covid, although I know every club has that.

“If you are going to dedicate it to anyone, it’s for the supporters. We’re a community club, everyone knows that, with a chairman who really cares for the community.

“Since I came in, we’ve had a fantastic response. Not every week, which has been my frustration. There have been highs and lows, but I have always said even if we aren’t beating Celtic and Aberdeen but putting in good performances, we are doing it a reason.

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“In the last three games, to do what we did with so much at stake was a big test of character. The boys came out on top, especially after going a goal down.

“We need to learn from this. I don’t want to be in this position again. We will enjoy the night and we will be right back at it.”

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