Ross County 0-3 Inverness CT: Return to form pleasing for Hughes

Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Hughes was delighted his side got back to winning ways against Ross County and boosted their top-six hopes.

Caley Thistle's 3-0 win over the Scottish League Cup winners gave them their third Highland derby win of the season.

Liam Polworth, Ross Draper and Miles Storey were on target for the visitors.

"I think we deserved it," Hughes told BBC Scotland. "We got stronger as the game went on."

Victory took Inverness eight points clear of Kilmarnock in the relegation play-off spot and within four points of County, who drop to sixth.

"We want to look up the way," Hughes said.

Inverness manager John Hughes
Hughes is targeting another top-six finish in the Premiership with Caley Thistle

"I felt we scored some good goals, probably the third one by Miles Storey being the best of them. To score the third one so early in the second half, that really settled us.

"We knew what Ross County have been through - to win a cup, the emotions and where it takes you mentally and physically.

"It was all about us in terms of trying to get back to winning ways after our disappointment on Wednesday [losing to Hibs in a Scottish Cup replay] and hopefully in trying to get the points to get us up the league and in that top six.

"A wee bit of luck went our way. It settled us down and I'm absolutely delighted for the supporters that we won the match.

"I've seen us play better. But, on a tricky pitch, I felt we controlled the game and all credit it to them."

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre bemoaned the hosts' profligacy in front of goal.

"The story of the game was about taking your chances," he said.

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre with the League Cup
County paraded the League Cup after the Highland derby

"We've had four fantastic chances before Inverness have had any of their own. When you come into a derby, you've got to take them and it turned out to be crucial. You've got to give them credit because they punished our mistakes and we didn't punish them.

"Going in at 2-0 down you know the next goal is crucial and it's a horrible mistake from the referee not to see Miles Storey's double-handball to control the ball. He's brought both his arms in. The referee's got to get that one right, I was disappointed with that, and it's taken the wind right out our sails."

County won their first major trophy with victory over Hibernian at Hampden last week and followed that up with a midweek league draw with St Johnstone.

And with Saints and Motherwell both winning on Saturday, the Dingwall side have dropped two places.

"After the third goal, they bossed it," added McIntyre. "We were very deflated and we need to show a wee bit more than that - it was a derby.

"Having said that, the boys have been brilliant. It was a real sore one, but win our last two games [before the split] and we know we'll be in the top six."

After the match Ross County held an open-top bus parade with the League Cup.

"It's going to sting for a few days, but we knew we would have to delay our celebrations for a week," added McIntyre.

"It's important we get on that bus and we celebrate with the fans. It's the biggest moment in the club's history and it's important we celebrate it."