Scottish Cup final: Celebrate, but not for long, warns Hughes

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Inverness spirit shone through - Hughes

An "absolutely elated" John Hughes is already looking forward to next season after Inverness won the Scottish Cup for the first time.

Hughes' side beat Falkirk 2-1 to win their first major trophy, despite having Carl Tremarco sent off.

"I said to the players: milk it and get every photograph and take every single minute in," said Hughes. "Because you're soon back to pre-season.

"I'm absolutely elated, but we didn't half make it hard for ourselves."

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Inverness interviews - Vincent, Shinnie and Watkins

Inverness led at half-time through a Marley Watkins strike, but left-back Tremarco was dismissed for hauling down Blair Alston with 15 minutes remaining.

Falkirk, who had dominated the second half, were level five minutes later when Peter Grant headed in at the back post.

But it was Hughes's men who were celebrating at full-time thanks to James Vincent's late winner.

"I don't want to sound like Sir Alex Ferguson back in his Aberdeen days but the second half just wasn't acceptable, " Hughes told BBC Scotland, referring to the former Manchester United manager's angry interview in the immediate aftermath of the Pittodrie side's 1-0 win over Rangers in the 1983 final.

"We brought it on top of ourselves and got a man sent off.

"But once again, the spirit in the team with 10 men, they dig it out. And to do it in a Scottish Cup final is remarkable.

"I'm absolutely delighted we won the game and Tremarco's blushes are spared."

Inverness lift the Scottish Cup
Inverness celebrate winning the Scottish Cup for the first time

Hughes, the PFA Scotland and the Scottish Football Writers' Association manager of the year, admits he will have to work hard over the summer to re-shape his team ahead of the Europa League qualifying ties and the new Scottish Premiership season.

"It'll be difficult because [captain Graeme] Shinnie's leaving and Watkins will move on but we've still got the nucleus of a right good hard-working team," he said.

"I'll just need to box clever and try to bring one or two players in. But, to be honest, I don't think we'll ever emulate what we did this year.

"But it doesn't stop us setting standards and, if we can keep doing that, then who knows?

"We're a provincial club. We've been going with a squad of 18 who play some nice stuff."

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