Ross County 1-3 Inverness: Hughes' joy at return to form

Inverness Caley Thistle's players celebrate
Caley Thistle sit in fifth place in the Scottish Premiership, five points behind leaders Aberdeen

Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Hughes believes his side were back to their best in the 3-1 win at Highland rivals Ross County.

Hughes' side were one of the Premiership's form teams this season but lost three in succession going into the Highland derby on Thursday.

They returned to winning ways, however, thanks to Aaron Doran's double and a Billy McKay goal, with Jackson Irvine scoring for County.

"Our first-half performance was back to what we were doing early in the season," Hughes told BBC Scotland. "We were passing it very well and had total control of the football. We got our reward with the goal but we should have scored more in the first half.

"We adapted a little bit, knowing we could sit in and hit them on the counter. My only disappointment was losing the goal so quickly after scoring our second one, but it was a really good team performance.

"It's great to see the hard work we're doing on the training pitch coming to fruition. We're trying to get our wingers high up the park.

The link-up play was great and that was really pleasing. Tactically, the way we went about our business gave us a real foothold in the game and let us boss it.

"For 20-25 minutes of the second half Ross County came right back into it and we lost our way a bit.

"It was a disappointing result three games ago against Partick Thistle, we weren't at the races, against St Johnstone circumstances went against us and against Aberdeen we weren't too far away, so I'm not going to start chopping and changing the team.

"Experience tells you they're good boys. It's an old trick I learned off Jim Jefferies that some players who haven't been playing can come in and do well at certain places, and Aaron Doran always does well up here in Dingwall."

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre
Ross County manager Jim McIntyre admitted his side simply were not good enough against Inverness

Staggies manager Jim McIntyre could find little encouragement from his bottom-of-the-table side's display.

"Inverness were worthy winners, they did practically everything better than us on the day and that was the real disappointment," he told BBC Scotland.

"Three balls into our box from set plays and we lose three goals, so it was a sore day.

"It certainly wasn't the type of performance we were looking for, that's for sure. Inverness started the game better, they were winning more second balls, they were passing it better than us, they were doing the fundamentals better than us and took their chances when they came.

"We never looked like getting back into the game.

"They looked quicker than us to the ball and passed it better, they had a snap in their challenges and too many of our players didn't perform. When that happens, you're never going to win a game.

"There's a reason why we're bottom of the league and it's up to us to make sure we strengthen in the window and move forward. We've got targets in mind and we'll see how we get on with that, but it's important we get bodies in and we'll make sure we're a lot more competitive than we were today."

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