Ross County manager Jim McIntyre lauds John Hughes's Inverness

John Hughes congratulates his Inverness players after Edward Ofere scored against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday
John Hughes congratulates his Inverness players after Edward Ofere scored against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre admits he is full of admiration for what Highland rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle have achieved this season.

"I think Yogi (manager John Hughes) has done a fantastic job there," he said.

"To be third in the league and in the Scottish Cup final is great credit to everyone in the club.

"If anyone had imagined two (ex-) Highland League clubs being in the Scottish Cup final within five years they'd have been laughed out the door."

County lost 3-0 to Dundee United in the showpiece Hampden final in 2010.

They are the form side in the country at the moment with eight Scottish Premiership wins and a draw in nine games in their fight to avoid relegation.

However, McIntyre concedes that run does not match the achievements of Hughes and his players, who beat Celtic 3-2 after extra-time on Sunday to reach their first Scottish Cup final, in which they will play Falkirk.

The Staggies boss added: "Great credit to Inverness, we wish them well for the final, but I can't compare our run to John's. That's a fabulous season for them.

"We've just got to make sure that we continue to do our part and stay in the league."

County are in 10th place in the table, six points clear of second-bottom Motherwell who, with five games to go, look most likely to get dragged into the Premiership play-off final with a team from the Championship.

McIntyre praised his players' haul of 25 points from a possible 27 and said it was a "huge credit" to them.

He highlighted the togetherness of his squad and their ability to keep performing and getting key results as the reason they have managed to pull clear of immediate relegation danger.

"The focus is there," he said.

"We as a staff won't take our eye off the ball and the players won't either. All the teams are evenly matched.

"The one thing we've had to work under is a lot of pressure. Some of the other clubs haven't had to deal with that but when the split happens and the points have got tighter it refocuses everybody and I expect them to realise that they are in a dogfight as well.

"If the players go out and perform, we've got a good chance of getting the right result.

"They've certainly been performing and they deserve all the credit. At the moment they're in a confident place but they realise that what is getting them there is the hard work and that's got to continue."

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