John Hughes knows all there is to know about Hibs – which is why he’ll figure out all but one of their starting XI when they take on his Ross County side.
The pair meet on Saturday in a rearranged fixture, the original meeting between Ross County and Hibs at the Global Energy Stadium postponed due to snow. Hughes has a lengthy association with Hibs, growing up as a supporter before becoming a player and manager at Easter Road.
He also worked with current Hibees boss Jack Ross at Falkirk, which is why Hughes thinks he’ll know most of his opposition’s starting XI before Saturday: “I have played there, I am local boy, I know everything about the club, inside out.
“I will know Jack’s team by the time the game comes and the reason I am laughing is that when Jack played for me at Falkirk, every time we played Hibs I had their team on a Friday spot on because of the connections.
“So throw that in, that will bring a smile to Jack’s face. We are short of one. I don’t know if it will be (Christian) Doidge or (Kevin) Nisbet as the central striker. He might try to mix his shape up a bit. I am only having a laugh here, I don’t try to second guess. It is all about what my team do.”
County are out the Scottish Premiership’s relegation zone after last weekend’s win against Kilmarnock but Hughes knows Hibs will pose a challenge if the Staggies are to build form.
He said: “They have that objective of trying to get that third spot in the league so they will be hurting, they will be dangerous. They have a lot of good players. We are going to be right up against it but it is one we look forward to. We don’t fear it, we embrace it and we are basically saying, ‘bring it on’.
“I have seen a shift of where we are in term of the mindset. There is a belief amongst the squad and all credit to them. It doesn’t guarantee you are going to win a football match but I can just see that shift and I am seeing the improvements.
“There’s good competition for places, everyone has played their part. The focus I am getting on the training pitch I think is carrying on into a Saturday. But you respect everything about Hibs.”
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