HE HAS had more than his share of detractors barely nine months into the job, but John Hughes is staying true to his word on style and ethos, and - strikingly yesterday - true to the principles espoused on his arrival.
The vision he laid out after accepting the post involved great stock being placed in youth. Last week Caley Thistle humbled Celtic with three Inverness lads finishing the game, four in all from the club's youth system.
Hughes also promised a slick, possession and passing-based style, pleasing on the eye and, while yesterday was an idealist's' dream, it delivered another stirring result in the end.
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Patience also seems to be a watchword as Caley set the Premiership pace. When the passing and possession initially failed to translate into goals, panic was conspicuous by its absence. The home side kept moving the ball, making Kilmarnock chase relentlessly, while probing for openings which eventually came. The opener after 75 minutes epitomised Hughes' vow to play "the proper way", with quick and intelligent movement.
The second goal was a killer for Killie, Greg Tansey rocketing against the post and in off Craig Samson's back. So there they sit, still top after five matches, with no goals conceded and eight scored, with the champions already humbled on home soil.
While expressing his delight, Hughes was quick to throw in a small barb of warning in his assessment too - feet must stay firmly on the ground.
"That was very pleasing," the Inverness manager said. "To get off to the start we have in the league, could hardly be any better. I'm also delighted for Aaron Doran to get the goal on his first start. He worked ever so hard today and some of his touches were quality. As for the second goal, Tansey has that in him, he's a great ball striker."
The hosts even shook off a significant pre-match blow with Gary Warren failing a fitness test. Midfielder Ross Draper, as he had already this season, dropped back to ably partner Josh Meekings in the heart of defence.
There was little to shout about before the break with clear chances thin on the ground, but Inverness gradually upped the ante. Home pressure was building steadily before howls for a home penalty, with Watkins making a meal of contact with Manuel Pascali in the box, were waved away. The breakthrough finally arrived after 75 minutes and in some style. Danny Williams, Graeme Shinnie and Billy Mckay linked slickly on the left before the latter released Doran clean through on Samson before the Dubliner expertly clipped a low shot into the corner of the net. The crucial second came after 80 minutes and was breathtaking.
From a Watkins' cutback, Mckay struck hard at goal, but hit his own man, substitute Nick Ross. Kilmarnock couldn't clear properly and the ball fell to Tansey 30 yards out. The Scouser let rip, striking Samson's left-hand post and then smacking off the keeper's back and in. It had taken a while, but it seemed utterly convincing by the finish.
"I just thought we looked a bit sluggish all over the park," said Killie manager Allan Johnston.