John Hughes left Parkhead full of praise for Celtic

By David Walton

December 24, 2020

If there’s one thing about John Hughes, we know it’s that he absolutely loves the Celtic.

The new Ross County manager has never been shy in bigging up the Hoops (Daily Record) and he showed that once again after yesterday’s 2-0 defeat. Celtic steamrolled over his new County side, but the game was anything but a cakewalk.

County had a couple of first-half chances of their own before being tricky to be break down in the first 45. In the end, however, they just couldn’t hold out. Celtic broke their lines on several occasions in the second half and our quality told.

Big John was happy to acknowledge that however. Once again he left Celtic Park full of acknowledgement at what the Hoops provided on the pitch.

As quoted by the Herald, Hughes said: “It was very enjoyable. I was quite glad we came to Parkhead first because we were playing against the champions, and I could see who was up for it and what we’ve got. I could see who was not fazed by it.

“The effort and commitment was very good. That’s what Celtic do, they peg you back so when you get it sometimes there is nowhere to go. If you open up and play more they are capable of cutting you wide open.

“Celtic is not our challenge – our challenge is in the bottom half of the league beating the teams around about us. Our cup final is really St Mirren.”

Celtic too good for Staggies; but Hughes will get a reaction out of them

Personally I was impressed with County for 45 minutes. They were well organised, got men behind the ball, and did their best to squeeze the space.

But let’s not pretend that was all they were interested in. When they got the ball, they weren’t interested in just booting it up the field. Nope, they tried to hold on ad play some combinations.

They knew that if they could get the ball into wide areas, they would have a great chance to hurt us. That showed when two deliveries found Ross Stewart in the first half before his injury. They knew there were opportunities there and did come close on one occasion.

John Hughes at Celtic Park (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Hazard had a couple of saves to make which is also good for him. It’s absolutely evident that without Stewart they didn’t have that same threat. However, irrespective of that, they put up a good fight.

John will get the best out of them in the coming weeks. I would hardly be surprised if County picked up a colossal three points against St Mirren at the weekend. They have the players and the manager to do just that.

As for us, we keep ticking along with four consecutive wins under our belt. This simply needs to be the start of something.

In other news, Lennon pointed out the worrying state of the Celtic Park pitch on club TV.