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John Hughes parking thoughts about his Ross County future in Staggies’ survival bid

Ross County manager John Hughes
Ross County manager John Hughes

Ross County manager John Hughes says his own future is on the backburner as he attempts to steer the Staggies clear of Premiership relegation.

Hughes was tasked with keeping County in the top flight when he was handed the job in December by chairman Roy MacGregor, on a deal until the end of the season.

Although the Dingwall side are 10th at present they remain firmly in the dogfight, a point above Kilmarnock in the relegation play-off spot and two ahead of bottom-placed Hamilton Accies.

Hughes says he is enjoying his return to management, which ended a three-and-a-half year absence since his last job at Raith Rovers, but he remains focused on the primary task of ensuring County’s survival.

John Hughes took over at Ross County in December.

Hughes said: “I wouldn’t even try to address that. I just love the game of football.

“Coming in I have tried to leave no stone unturned, work hard and give it everything I have got.

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

“I am still demanding on them and giving them tips. It is working to try and get success.

“What will be will be, but I have always enjoyed my time in the Highlands and the lifestyle seems to suit me.”

Hughes first stepped in the dugout in 2003 as co-manager of Falkirk alongside Owen Coyle, and has since gone on to manage Hibernian, Livingston, Hartlepool United, Caley Thistle along with Raith.

The 56-year-old feels his style of management has become more relaxed in recent years, but he is still eager to make big demands of his players.

He added: “Through time and age it calms you 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.

“The players want that sort of manager, who is demanding. Nothing is about me, it is all about my players and what I can do to help them.

“They have to understand, no matter what they want then I will try and do it for them if it is going to benefit the team. I just roll with it and get on with it.

“There are frustrations and you just need to get on with it. I hate Sundays because I want to be working more.

“I am really enjoying it. I am not happy where we are, but we know what the objective is, that will take care of itself. Let’s concentrate on the job in front of us.”

Ross Laidlaw is out of contract in the summer.

A number of County’s players are also out of contract this summer, however Hughes says all members of his squad must keep their focus on the remaining five games.

Hughes added: “I have purposely never gone near it because I just want to concentrate on what we are doing.

“I have been there as a manager where boys are playing for new contracts and they are in the best form of their lives. I have just stayed away from all that.

“I have concentrated on each game as it comes. I’m at a well-run football club and I am easy with that.

“In football, you just have to get on with things and to give it your best shot.

“My message to the players is that you don’t want a relegation on your CV – even if they move on.

“They need to play their part and be a real good team-mate, and for the next two months give everything to be the best they can be.”

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