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Ross County boss John Hughes hopes to keep Kilmarnock counterpart Tommy Wright waiting for first win

John Hughes (left) and Tommy Wright speaking before a match between Caley Thistle and St Johnstone in 2015.
John Hughes (left) and Tommy Wright speaking before a match between Caley Thistle and St Johnstone in 2015.

Ross County boss John Hughes is delighted to see Tommy Wright back in Scottish football but hopes the new Kilmarnock manager is still waiting for his first win after tomorrow’s meeting in Dingwall.

Former St Johnstone boss Wright is yet to register a victory at his new club since replacing Alex Dyer last month.

A 1-1 home draw against Dundee United ended a dreadful run of eight consecutive defeats, which has left Killie sitting second bottom and level on points with basement dwellers Hamilton Accies.

County are only one point and one place above Killie ahead of tomorrow’s meeting and both sides know a victory would be a huge boost in the bid to beat the drop.

Hughes said:  “I’ve got a great respect for Tommy. The two of us have locked horns many times. It’s great to see him back in the game.

“He’s looking well. It must have been some diet. He better bring it for me, as I’ve put a stone on during lockdown. I need to get his secret.

“We know what we’re up against on Saturday. He changed his shape a wee bit against Dundee United.

“As managers, we’re all looking for something to give us that edge.

“Everyone is playing for their place in the team. They’re hungry.

“I’ve started chopping and changing and they all know no place is safe.

“I can’t wait for Saturday.”

Ross County manager John Hughes during the Scottish Premiership against St Mirren.

Hughes, whose side lost 1-0 against St Mirren last weekend, was quick to stress victory on Saturday afternoon will ultimately be determined by the players on the pitch rather than the men in the dugout.

He said: “It is down to the teams. All we can do is put our teams out on the pitch and hope the work on the training pitch comes to fruition.

“If it isn’t going your way then it comes down to what you do as a manager.

“I really try to concentrate on watching how the game is going. I try not to get caught up on anything. My focus is on my team, so if I have to change shape or make a substation I’m doing it for the best of my team.

“Going up against Tommy doesn’t come into it. It is two teams.

“I have every belief and trust in my players.

“We are all in it together and I can feel that.

“I saw how much they were hurting after the game on Saturday. They were so down.

“That tells me they care and we just need to pick ourselves up.

“We have the right characters at the club.”

‘We know what we need to do to win’

Hughes has urged his players to embrace the pressure of being involved in a relegation dogfight with only eight games of the campaign remaining.

He added: “You need to embrace it. Bring it on.

“We know what it is all about at the club.

John Hughes think the Ross County players know what’s required in the final part of the season.

“We don’t want to be down there, but we have been there for so long.

“We know what we need to do to win football matches.

“You can talk the talk and walk with a swagger, but on a Saturday it is about winning football matches.

“When you walk over that white line it comes down to what you do as an individual.

“Can you do your job in and out of possession to influence the game?

“I believe I have guys who can do that and if they do then I believe we will pick up the three points on Saturday.”

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