Scottish Cup final: John Hughes aims to boost Inverness following

Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Hughes
John Hughes wants more fans at Caledonian Stadium
Scottish Cup final: Falkirk v Inverness CT
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Saturday, 30 May Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One Scotland, Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website

John Hughes hopes reaching their first-ever Scottish Cup final will help Inverness Caledonian Thistle increase their regular following.

The average attendance at Caledonian Stadium has been 3,700 during a season when Hughes' side finished a best-ever third in the Scottish Premiership.

He thinks local children are gradually turning away from bigger clubs.

"The only way to play your part is to do what we're doing and get into Europe and cup finals," said the manager.

"We had an open day the other day for the school kids and it was great to see them all in Inverness strips. I never saw any Celtic or Rangers strips.

"If we can give them pride in Inverness and get all these school kids to go and support their local team then we are certainly playing our part."

Hughes' club is the result of a 1994 amalgamation of Caledonian and Inverness Thistle that is still opposed by some elements of their former supporters.

But Hughes is predicting a healthy turnout to back his side at Hampden Park.

Aberdeen and Inverness players line up before last season's League Cup final
Hughes' Inverness lost to Aberdeen in last season's Scottish League Cup final

"I'm quite sure we'll take 15,000-20,000 down to the cup final and hopefully we'll give them a good day," he told BBC Scotland.

While Inverness are only the 10th best supported team out of the 12 Premiership clubs, attendances have risen nearly 5% this season and the steady progress pleases Hughes.

"When you come to a club with the finances and resources that we work with, the remit was basically to stay in the top flight and always try to push for the top six and latter stages of the cup competitions," he said.

"But, since I've been here, it's been a real bonus - getting to the League Cup final last year, top six last year.

"This year, getting for the first time in the club's history that Europa League spot through the league placing.

"That's your bread and butter. That tells you how good a team you are throughout the season.

"Then the Scottish Cup final. If we can go and win it, it would be remarkable."

Hughes has built a reputation for building teams who like to play passing football.

"If we go and play in the final and really turn up and play at our best then I'm confident we can bring the Scottish Cup back to Inverness," he added.

"We all want to win, we all want success, we all want medals and trophies. But, if I'm honest, it's the way we've done it, the way we pass the ball and entertain, that's been the most pleasing thing for me. "