Inverness v Dundee: Hughes not worried over future

John Hughes: Focused on job. Picture: SNS
John Hughes: Focused on job. Picture: SNS
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JOHN Hughes insists he will continue to ignore speculation about his Inverness future.

The Caley Thistle boss has been rated third favourite to become the first manager to be axed this season.

The bookmakers have priced only Celtic’s new man in charge Ronny Deila and Allan Johnston of Kilmarnock at shorter odds to be sacked than Hughes.

The former Falkirk, Hibernian and Livingston boss took over at the Caledonian Stadium in December last season with the Highlanders 
riding high in second place in the Scottish Premiership.

But the 49-year-old could not stop them sliding down to fifth by the end of the campaign.

His squad also lost out on landing the League Cup for the first time in the club’s history when Aberdeen beat them on penalties in the final at Celtic Park in March.

But Hughes showed what he thought of his doubters when he guided Inverness to an opening day win against Hamilton.

And he insists he will continue to pay little attention to the criticism that has come his way since replacing Terry Butcher.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s visit of Dundee, Hughes said: “I do not subscribe to any of that. I don’t read newspapers. I don’t pay much attention to what’s going on because it takes my focus away from what I’m doing at Inverness.

“I owe it to these players to give 100 per cent – 120 per cent if it is possible – and give them all my knowledge and to coach them, motivate them, pick the right team, to stimulate them on the training pitch, to make them better players individually and collectively. That’s my focus and if I was getting distracted by any other nonsense then I would be coming away from that focus.

“(Ignoring all of that other stuff) keeps you cool, calm and collected because your focus is on your boys and where it needs to be. Anything else that is said is just water off a duck’s back to me.”

Meanwhile, Simon Ferry reckons Dundee were a target on their first day back in the top flight – so hopes the real Dark Blues can turn on the style in Inverness tonight.

Paul Hartley’s newly-promoted side got their eagerly-awaited Scottish Premiership campaign up and running with a 1-1 draw in last weekend’s entertaining opening-day clash with Kilmarnock.

Former Portsmouth midfielder Ferry, one of 12 summer captures, knows expectations were high before a ball was even kicked as only one defeat in five pre-season games meant many were tipping them to be top-six contenders instead of fighting a relegation scrap.

Ferry said: “Over the summer we were on such a high. I think we wanted to play better against Kilmarnock than we did in the first-half. Everybody is always up for the start of the season so it was always going to be hard for us, given the way we play.

“Still, it’s a point on the board and we are off the mark – there a few teams who aren’t off and running yet. Kilmarnock were really up for it and pressed us really well. Hopefully, as the season goes on though, we might get more of a chance to play our game.”

Hartley believes his side have plenty positives to take into their clash with Caley Thistle.

The former Scotland midfielder said: “There were lots of good things about how we played on the first day. This is another test but it’s one we’re looking forward to and hopefully we can come away with a positive result.”

Striker Phil Roberts is still suspended, while James McPake will play after having butterfly stitches inserted in his cheek.