Hughes believes Celtic should “take their medicine” and applaud their rivals onto the park – then use it as motivation to inflict Rangers’ first league defeat of the season.
The Ross County boss has steered the Staggies out of the relegation places since assuming the reins at Dingwall in December, and says Rangers deserve the plaudits. The former Celtic, Hibs and Falkirk defender believes there have been too many distractions affecting his old club’s season.
Speaking to BBC Scotland, he said: “There should be a guard of honour – it’s an unwritten rule. The next team that’s taking them out you give them the guard of honour and take your medicine – take it on the chin.
“Rangers have been outstanding from the start - there's been no noise out of Ibrox about the Covid stuff – the house was in order.
“There was too much noise coming out of Celtic from not signing the goalkeeper to the fitness of [Leigh] Griffiths. Now the challenge is on Celtic and it’s a challenge to go and regain the title.
"It's a great rivalry but in sport you sometimes have to stand back, tip your hat and say well done, you’ve raised the bar, guard of honour – then go and beat them.”