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Butcher: Hughes will 'fit in' with Inverness

TERRY BUTCHER has told John Hughes he is inheriting a club with "no problems and no pressure" if, as expected, he is appointed manager of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

John Hughes is a surprise choice by Inverness
John Hughes is a surprise choice by Inverness

The former Hibernian manager will be unveiled as Butcher's successor this morning, having beaten Paul Hartley of Alloa Athletic and Kenny Shiels, the former Kilmarnock manager, in the race to succeed the Englishman.

Hughes has been out of work since being sacked by Hartlepool at the end of last season but his impending appointment in the Highlands has met with the approval of the man he will replace. "It is a great club for him," said Butcher, who now fills the role Hughes once held at Easter Road. "He is a big guy and should fit my big chair well. It is a smashing club to take charge of there, there are no problems, no pressure and it will tick along nicely because the dressing room is really tight."

Hughes will be viewed as a surprise choice by the Inverness board, given his stock seems to have been falling of late. Having begun his managerial career with Falkirk - taking them to the top flight, keeping them there for four seasons and reaching the 2009 Scottish Cup final - he led Hibs to a European place in 2010 in his first and only full season but was sacked in the October of that year after a poor run of results stretching back from the previous campaign.

Following a nine-month spell at Livingston, the 49-year-old then failed to keep Hartlepool in League One. Taking over in November with the club nine points adrift, Hughes did instigate a revival after a stunning seven-match unbeaten run, but his side then failed to score in eight games and were relegated.

Despite that, though, he has been afforded the opportunity to take on an Inverness side sitting second in the SPFL Premiership and still in both cups. The Highlanders will face Hearts in the Scottish League Cup semi-final on February 2 before facing Clyde or Stranraer in the William Hill Scottish Cup the following week. His first game in charge will be against St Mirren in Paisley on Saturday.

It was reported yesterday Shiels was out of the running for the job, with the Northern Irishman claimingcoaches who played for the Old Firm have a "massive advantage" when it comes to earning managerial roles in Scotland. In a radio interview, Shiels insisted there was a "correlation" between recent appointments and managers who represented Celtic or Rangers in their playing days.

The Northern Irishman, who has been out of work since being sacked by Kilmarnock in June, said: "The last five appointments from a club in the SPL [Premiership] has all been former Old Firm players and what a massive example that is. If you've played for Celtic or Rangers in your career, you've got a darned good chance because of your profile to go to a club in the SPL or any club. It's not a mafia as such, but there's this network that other people have. They've played in Scotland."

However Butcher, who played for Rangers, bristled at suggestions that his Ibrox past played any part in his recent appointment as Hibs manager. "It's ages since Kenny has been in the paper so he's got to say something, I suppose," he said. "I think he went on about people recommending you and all that. I've had no-one recommend me. I always thought it was your CV that matters. It is what you do and what you can do that is the most important thing. I can't play, so who I played for is irrelevant. But, as a manager, I have gleaned experience from clubs and that's where I am now."

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