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Ross County admires progress of Livingston in Premiership

By Andrew Henderson

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John Hughes believes Livingston have set the benchmark for teams like Ross County who want to rise up the Premiership table.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness.
Ross County(1) v St. Johnstone(1). 02.01.21.
Ross County manager John Hughes.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(1) v St. Johnstone(1). 02.01.21. Ross County manager John Hughes.

The Lions finished ninth in their first season back in the top flight after winning promotion, before rising to fifth by the time the 2019/20 campaign was brought to an early end.

Now, after recovering form and momentum in the wake of Gary Holt’s departure, they are once again fifth, having won five league matches in a row, and will provide tough opposition for County tomorrow.

From the Staggies’ point of view, Livingston’s success is something they had hoped to emulate in consolidating themselves as a Premiership outfit this season.

Instead, sitting at the bottom of the table, Hughes would not mind replicating some of Livi’s traits if it means bringing three points back to Dingwall more often.

“They’re a benchmark for us, and there are plenty of ways to get there so we can mix it up,” Hughes said.

“That’s what Livingston does, they play good football, they will turn you, they go up the pitch in seconds.

“They get on with it, that’s their secret, and it’s something to be admired.

“That’s something that I like to see in my teams, they can’t be too big for their boots because they’ve got a job to do, and they will let you know you’ve been in a game.

“That’s what football is all about, and at the end of it – what they have done in the last few games – is get wins all the time. That’s the game we’re in.

“There’s no embarrassment in looking at other teams, if we can do what Livingston’s doing, then I will be a very happy manager.”

Hughes is full of respect for the job David Martindale has done since taking over the hot seat at the Almondvale Stadium.

Martindale had been in interim charge before getting the job full time on December 21.

He has done such a good job that County may feel they are up against it in West Lothian, but Hughes once again wants his players to rise to that challenge.

“David’s done an absolutely fantastic job,” Hughes added.

“It’s a massive challenge for us, they’re in the top five, and they want to try and catch the next one above them, which just tells you what kind of season they’re having.

“We’re looking to emulate what they’re doing, by hook or by crook they get the job done.

“We know we’re right up against it, but it’s one I really am looking forward to.

“I have no fear, it’s a challenge, and you have to be inspired to face a team that’s on that kind of run.

“What have we got to lose? We’ll go down there and give it a go, and I’ll say it again – Livingston will know they’ve been in a game.”

Hughes has a number of options returning in defence, with Alex Iacovitti, Callum Morris and Carl Tremarco likely to return.

Ross Stewart is less likely to feature as he works on his comeback from injury.

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