John Hughes: Leaving Inverness Caley Thistle 'left sour taste'

John Hughes looks on from the touchline during a Caley Thistle match last season
Hughes said he "absolutely loved" his time in Inverness and "really misses it"

Former Inverness Caledonian Thistle boss John Hughes says he left the club in May because he felt his time there was "turning a bit sour".

He guided the Highland club to a League Cup final, Scottish Cup victory, third in the Premiership and into Europe.

It was reported his exit was because of disagreements with Caley chairman Kenny Cameron over the budget for players.

But Hughes insists the problem wasn't the money available, but what he felt was the board's lack of trust in him.

"I've been in the game for 14 years, I've had great success, taken two clubs into Europe, produced players," he told BBC Scotland's Sportsound.

"You need to trust me that I know what I'm doing and I just felt that trust wasn't there.

"Kenny Cameron is not a bad lad. It got a bit sour towards the end, but I've texted him since and we've been in touch. I'm 100% convinced he does what he thinks is the best for Inverness.

"I felt I knew how to take the club forward, and I just felt my ideas weren't getting taken on board. It was nothing to do with the budget. I've never been a chequebook manager."

John Hughes' record at ICT
Played 121 Won 50 Drawn 30 Lost 41 Success rate: 41.32%
Premiership finishes: 5th (2013-14) 3rd (2014-15), 7th (2015-16)
Won Scottish Cup in 2015 - beating Falkirk 2-1 in final
Reached League Cup final in 2014 - lost to Aberdeen on penalties
Manager of year 2014-15 with both PFA Scotland & Scottish Football Writers' Association

Dundee United approached Inverness last season asking for permission to speak to Hughes about the managerial vacancy at Tannadice after Jackie McNamara left the club.

Permission was refused, but Hughes admitted he wanted to at least hear what Dundee United had to say.

"I was very content at Inverness, I'd just signed a two-year extension," he said. "But I've always been taught in all the licences you do, go to any interview you get a chance to go to. You might not get the job that time, but you might make an impression on people.

"I went for an interview a few years ago at Sheffield United. I got a second interview and eventually they gave the job to Davie Weir.

"But a guy in the interview process moved to another English club and after the Dundee United episode, they came calling. That other club asked permission to speak to me. We knocked that on the head and no-one knew about it. That's how committed I was to Inverness."

Hughes felt Richie Foran was likely to succeed him in the manager's job at Inverness, but only at the end of the contract extension Hughes signed.

Richie Foran makes a point during Calye Thistle's 2-1 win over St Johnstone
Richie Foran lost his first three Premiership games after succeeding Hughes but got his first win on Saturday against St Johnstone

He admits he did not see Foran as a coach, but says the 36-year-old Irishman will benefit from having Hughes' assistant, Brian Rice, at his side.

"He's probably been flung in at the deep end and I wish him all the best," Hughes said.

"He's a rookie. I don't think that coaching is his forte, coming up with ideas, being innovative, but that doesn't mean you can't become a good manager if you have other people doing that for you."

Having managed in England before at Hartlepool, Hughes is keen for his return to the game to be down south, and says he is ready to get back into management.

"I've recharged my batteries, taken time out, analysed it," he said. "I'd like an opportunity down in England again, hopefully in the Championship. It wouldn't faze me one bit."

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