Inverness: Billy Mckay likely to exit, says John Hughes

Billy Mckay (left) celebrates as Inverness defeat St Johnstone
Billy Mckay (left) scored the opening goal in the win over St Johnstone

Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Hughes is resigned to losing star striker Billy Mckay at the end of the season.

The 26-year-old Northern Ireland international is out of contract in the summer.

Asked if there was a chance Mckay would stay, Hughes told BBC Scotland: "I very much doubt it.

"He is out of contract and, if another team is doubling his wages, he is going to go as we can't match that."

Hughes was talking after Mckay scored the opening goal, his fifth in four games, as Caley Thistle eased to a 2-0 win over St Johnstone.

The Caley Thistle manager has not completely given up hope of retaining the striker but thinks he is likely to return to England, where he previously played for Leicester City, Hinckley United and Northampton Town.

"I am being a realist here and I hope the fans understand that," said Hughes. "He's been a wonderful player since I've come to the club.

"I think, if Billy does move on, he'll go away with the best wishes of everyone at Inverness and, if he does move on to something bigger and better, possibly you're looking at the English Championship, he deserves that."

Inverness have now won their last four league games - the first time they have achieved that since 2011 - and have leapfrogged Dundee United into third place, three points behind leaders Aberdeen.

Frazer Wright leaves the field as Tommy Wright looks on
Frazer Wright was one of the players lost to Tommy Wright through injury at Caledonian Stadium

"For the first half of the season, they have been different class and it started from the first day back at pre-season," Hughes said of his players.

"We played some wonderful football tonight and maybe on another night we might have scored another couple of goals, but I'll settle for keeping a clean sheet and scoring two."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright was disappointed that, on top of the defeat, his side's injury problems were mounting.

In addition to having to substitute centre-half Frazer Wright, midfielder Scott Brown and striker Michael O'Halloran, defender Dave McKay picked up a back injury.

Asked what was missing against Inverness, the manager said: "Tackles, desire to go and stop the opposition and then, when we had the ball, we didn't do enough,"

Wright described his side as "shambolic" for the first goal and "totally disorganised" for the second while absolving his defence of blame.

"There was nothing wrong with the back four," he said. "The back four were fine. It was the people in front of them who didn't do their jobs."

Wright pointed out that his side are five points better off than at the same stage last season.

"It is only our third defeat in 12 games and we're still in the top six, but we're hurting tonight because that's not a performance reminiscent of us," he added.

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