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John Hughes: Ross County got tactics spot on to overcome champions Celtic


By Andrew Henderson

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John Hughes believes that Ross County were spot on from a tactical perspective to claim a surprise three points against Celtic.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness.
Ross County(1) v Celtic(0). 21.02.21.
Ross County's Jordan White heads past Celtic 'keeper Scott Bain for the only goal of the game.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(1) v Celtic(0). 21.02.21. Ross County's Jordan White heads past Celtic 'keeper Scott Bain for the only goal of the game.

The defending Premiership champions have not been in their usual ominous form over recent months, but County were still the underdogs going into the contest.

That showed in how the clubs set up, with the visitors having more of the ball and the Staggies focusing on keeping their shape and making life difficult for Celtic.

Then, with 20 minutes left to play, Jordan White scored what would turn out to be the winner at a set piece, and County held out for the victory.

So Hughes was delighted with the effort his squad put in, saying every single player contributed to the result.

“Our effort and commitment, organisation, and the boys’ willingness to put their bodies on the line was great – tactically we were spot on,” he insisted.

“The goal was something we’ve been banging the drum about – it’s all about getting deliveries into that box.

“The ball from Harry Paton, and Jordan White peeling off at the back, was wonderful.

“Jordan was different class, he led the line very well.

“At the end we were hanging in there, we were getting deeper and deeper, but the boys flung their bodies on the line and they all played their part.”

The performance on Sunday was reflective of training throughout the week, with a couple of players forcing their way into Hughes’ starting 11.

Those are the standards he intends to keep for the rest of the season, with County’s manager confident that such a level can keep the Staggies up.

“We did a practice match, where I could roughly pick my team, but the boys who weren’t playing gave them an absolute doing,” Hughes explained.

“I had to reward that, that’s why Blair Spittal and Michael Gardyne came back into the team because they were different class in the practice.

“The message that sends to the rest of them is that any time I have a practice match, you’re playing for your position.

“Those are the standards, it has to be like that from now until the end of the season.

“If they give that commitment, effort and concentration level then I don’t think we’ll be too far away.”


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