John Hughes defends celebrations at Easter Road

John Hughes with goalscorer Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo. Picture: SNS
John Hughes with goalscorer Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo. Picture: SNS
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Inverness Caley Thistle manager John Hughes insists his celebrations at Easter Road were justified, even if it did wind up some Hibernian supporters.

The former Hibs boss could not hide his emotions as Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo struck a 77th minute equaliser for the holders in Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final draw.

A video of Hughes accidentally hurting substitute Liam Polworth amid the scenes also went viral online.

But Hughes, who was brought up a stone’s throw away from the stadium, insists his reaction simply illustrated his passion for Caley Thistle.

He said: “I loved being back. I was brought up here as a boy, a born and bred Leither, and I used to climb over the wall before the big stand was built.

“But my job is Inverness and I love everything about the club. That’s why when we scored I was celebrating and rightly so, because they pay me wages. If you cut me it’s Inverness blood that will be there, that’s the passion and the pride I’ve got for the club.

“If my celebrations upset one or two Hibs supporters then I’m sorry, but when you’re taking on the team that I’m a manager of then I want to win the game.”

l Hibs have sold more than 28,000 tickets for Sunday’s League Cup final against Ross County at Hampden. The Easter Road outfit have exceeded their initial allocation of 25,800 – with a total of 37,000 seats being made available to the club.

By contrast, Premiership side Ross County were handed an opening batch of 7,000, with a further 3,000 on offer if needed.

Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster said: “It will be a great occasion for both clubs.”