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Ross County winger Jermaine Hylton thriving on John Hughes’ infectious personality

Ross County manager John Hughes with winger Jermaine Hylton.
Ross County manager John Hughes with winger Jermaine Hylton.

Jermaine Hylton says Ross County’s attacking players are feeding off the infectious personality of new Staggies manager John Hughes.

Since replacing Stuart Kettlewell last month Hughes has overseen an improvement in County’s fortunes, with a haul of seven points from the last four games helping take the Staggies off the foot of the table.

The Dingwall side made a bold statement in their survival bid last weekend, with Hylton netting his first goal for the club in a superb 4-1 triumph over Aberdeen.

Englishman Hylton says Hughes’ energy has lifted the mood of the Staggies’ camp, and has given the creative players the licence to attack.

Graphics show transformative effect Ross County widemen Regan Charles-Cook and Jermaine Hylton had on striker Oli Shaw’s game during win over Aberdeen

Hylton said: “It’s always going to be good to get a result like that, especially against a huge club like Aberdeen.

“To be honest, though, there wasn’t really a lack of confidence before that game.

“We were going into the game quite confident – since the manager has come in he has brought bundles of energy and positivity.

“His personality is infectious, and you can’t help but smile when you’re around the club at the minute.

“Before the Aberdeen game, we were feeling that way, and now it has just been amplified to the public.

“I don’t know that there’s necessarily a right way to go into any game, but obviously I’m a forward, so I’m always going to be an advocate for attacking football.

“I enjoy attacking football, so it suits me down to the ground to really be going for teams.

“We showed a real bravery against Aberdeen as it can be a very easy decision to play it safe as we were bottom of the league, playing third in the league.

“We could have put everyone behind the ball to try and nick a point and make sure we didn’t lose. But the manager said we were going to go for it and we would win or lose. Thankfully we got our rewards for it.”

Hylton joined County from Motherwell in October following a productive spell with the Steelmen last season, in which he netted four goals in 36 games to help the Lanarkshire men finish third in the Premiership.

The 28-year-old initially struggled for game time after making the switch to Victoria Park, and did not make a league start under Kettlewell, however, he feels he has benefitted from his recent run in the side.

Hylton added: “When you’re not playing games, it’s definitely frustrating and a little bit disheartening.

“I’ve been in the game long enough to know now that football changes very quickly, from good to bad and bad to good.

“It’s a cycle that keeps on going until you leave the game.

“Things are going really well now, and I’m sure at some point I might have another bad spell, but you’ve got to try and take maximum advantage of the good spells and minimise the bad ones.

“The most important thing for any footballer is to be playing, and that’s happening now.

“I’m enjoying my football again, and there’s a really good vibe around the place.”

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

County face a difficult task in maintaining their recent form, when they make the trip to Ibrox to face runaway league leaders Rangers today.

Lifelong Liverpool supporter Hylton counts Gers manager Steven Gerrard as one of his boyhood heroes, but insists he will not be overawed by the former Reds skipper’s presence.

Hylton added: “Gerrard was one of my heroes at Liverpool – in fact he probably is for all the Liverpool fans.

“The Champions League final (Istanbul, 2005) was special. He literally grabbed the team by the scruff of the neck and managed to get them back in the game.

“He just did something special to that team.

“I was watching the game with my brother in the living room, my sister’s boyfriend at the time was there as well.

“When it finished the three of us came running out the house barefoot, tops off, running down the street screaming like idiots.

“Once you are on the park you forget about everything else and the other team become the enemy.

“You don’t think ‘that’s Steven Gerrard over there and he scored for my team’. You think it is the team we have to get one over on.”

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