Inverness CT: John Hughes signs new two-year contract

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland
Inverness CT manager John Hughes
Hughes steered ICT to a third place finish in the Premiership last season

Manager John Hughes has signed a new two-year contract extension with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The former Falkirk and Hibs boss has been with the Highland club since December 2013 and steered them to Scottish Cup glory last season.

"It's the outcome I really wanted as I've really enjoyed myself at the club and in the Highlands," said Hughes.

"There's a tremendous spirit in the dressing room which I have worked hard to maintain and strengthen."

Last season, Hughes guided Caley Thistle to a maiden Scottish Cup win, third in the Premiership and a first European campaign, as well as picking up the PFA manager of the year award.

That success led to interest from Dundee United following Jackie McNamara's departure but Inverness rejected an approach from the Tangerines in September, with Mixu Paatelainen subsequently appointed by the Taysiders.

Key players such as Graeme Shinnie and Marley Watkins departed over the summer and a small squad has been blighted by injuries this term, with Hughes often unable to name a full bench.

However, a number of those players are nearing a first-team comeback as they look to move clear of relegation danger and mount a defence of the Scottish Cup, beginning with a trip to Stirling Albion or Cumbernauld Colts.

Inverness CT manager John Hughes
Hughes celebrates with the Scottish Cup after May's final victory over Falkirk

Hughes' previous deal was due to expire at the end of this campaign and now he plans to work on shaping his squad.

"Now that our business is done, my focus will be on re-signing, in the coming weeks, players who are out of contract this summer," he added. "This is vital if we are to prosper going forward and I'm very hopeful we can make progress on this front.

"It's a pleasure to work with such a wholehearted, committed bunch of lads."

There was a mixed reaction to Hughes' appointment following the departure of Terry Butcher to Hibernian. The board opted for experience and feel rewarded by that decision.

Chairman Kenny Cameron said: "It's extremely pleasing that, having offered John the job two years ago and seen his selection fully vindicated, we've now persuaded him to put pen to paper through to the summer of 2018."

"We're happy to thus ensure that our management team are in place for the longer term. Continuity is vital for a club of our stature and we'll be working closely with John to come to contract agreements with players who are willing to commit to continuing this club's journey."

Assistant Brian Rice has also signed a deal to remain at the club for the same term.

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