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Hughes hints at wanting to stay at Ross County, but no decision has yet been made

By Alasdair Fraser

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John Hughes has dropped the strongest hint yet that he would like to remain at Ross County beyond the end of the current season.

Stuart Kettlewell’s successor, who signed only a short-term deal on arrival at the club in December, stressed he had sought no talks or assurances from chairman Roy MacGregor with everything still to play for in the Premiership survival fight.

But the 56-year-old – who guided next Friday’s Scottish Cup derby opponents Caley Thistle to the heights of a third place top-flight finish, European football and a famous Scottish Cup final victory – did talk up his enjoyment of life at Victoria Park and his love of the Highlands.

Much will depend on whether County remain in the Premiership, but it is understood MacGregor has been impressed by reports on Hughes’ impact on the training ground and in the dressing room.

John Hughes' contract with Ross County is set to expire at the end of the season. Picture: Ken Macpherson
John Hughes' contract with Ross County is set to expire at the end of the season. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Asked if he had held discussions on his future either with MacGregor or club chief executive Steven Ferguson, Hughes replied: “No, I wouldn’t even try to address that.

“I just love the game of football and I have really enjoyed coming in here and working with these players and the staff.

“My outlook is leave no stone unturned, work hard and, no matter what, give it everything you have got.

“I am in it with the boys trying to get the best out of them. If I’m honest, I’d say I would have liked to get out and do more coaching, passing and work on sucking teams in, but I’ve just had to put the reins on it and go about our business in a different manner.

“You are still demanding of them and give them tips and wee pointers of advice. We are working on everything we can to try and bring success to the club.

“But as far as my own future here goes, what will be will be. I have always enjoyed my time in the Highlands and the lifestyle seems to suit me.”

Hughes’ CV is impressive in stints at Falkirk, Hibs, Livingston, Hartlepool and Inverness, blotted only slightly by a short and unhappy stint at Raith Rovers preceding his a three-year break from frontline management.

He believes he has returned a better, less fiery manager, but added: “Through time and age it calms down and you need to be more objective, but there are times I want to be that firebrand because it is part and parcel of my nature.

“Players want a demanding manager, but it isn’t about me – it is all about my players and what I can do to help them. I am really enjoying it, but I’m not happy with where we are in the table.”

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