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Fine proves to be Hughes' starter for £10

IT did not seem to take long for the suggestion to be made that Inverness Caledonian Thistle have invested a great deal of faith in John Hughes after trumping for the 49-year-old as manager ahead of other known candidates.

John Hughes will take his first match in Paisley
John Hughes will take his first match in Paisley

It would take just five minutes for Hughes to start paying them back.

This is being done incrementally since the new Inverness manager owes his side a tenner after incurring a fine when his phone went off while he met the players for the first time earlier this week. Such an incident is one of a list of misdemeanours for which a levy is imposed at the Highland club and Richie Foran was quick to come forward as the eager debt collector.

It was also an impromptu test of character as the Inverness squad sized up their new boss and one that Hughes would seem to have passed. He had media duties to perform, club staff to meet and today's league match against St Mirren to prepare for but the new man would also find the time to revel in the amusement of his players.

"Straight in, we hit the new gaffer with a fine for his mobile going off," said Foran, the Inverness captain. "He had only met us five minutes and there he was, being stung for a tenner. There are a few of these little rules he will have to learn fast; you can't do anything in that dressing room, which is good. Luckily, the gaffer has personality and likes a bit of fun and a joke. Work hard, play hard is his way and it works for us."

Hughes has been put in place but the Inverness board had sat down to interview both Kenny Shiels and Paul Hartley, too. The pair have commendable records and had been considered stronger candidates to take the post, although Foran is quite convinced that the club has appointed the right man. "He has desire and hunger," said the Dubliner, mimicking his new manager unintentionally.

"You can see the passion in his eyes and the eyes don't lie. I could tell that in the first half hour we met him. He talked to the lads in the dressing room and came across very well. It is a fantastic appointment in my eyes."

Conor Newton has also been a popular addition to the St Mirren squad and he is expected to extent his loan at the club until the end of the season. The midfielder was due to return to parent club Newcastle United on January 11 but the Barclays Premier League club are happy with the progress Newton is making in his second stint with Danny Lennon's side and believe is it more beneficial for the 22-year-old to remain in Scotland and get regular football.

Newton has been a key performer for St Mirren in recent weeks, deputising for the injured Gary Teale in right midfield and scoring in three of his last four matches. Lennon, who also revealed no progress has been made in getting goalkeeper Marian Kello to also extend his stay beyond January, lauded Newton yesterday.

"Negotiations are well underway with that one," he said. "Conor has done well and he's got that [scoring goals] in his locker. You can see when you play him in a central area he's always champing to get forward and where we're playing just now gives him a bit more of a license to do that.

"He's a fantastic individual with a fantastic attitude, and he's got a big, big future. He's building up a nice cv for himself. It's only a matter of time for that boy."

Newton will likely be involved in Paisley this afternoon, with his side intent on stretching their unbeaten home record to five matches. The arrival of Hughes has added another dynamic to the fixture, though, and Lennon is expecting a stern test.

"I know John reasonably well," said Lennon, who has Paul McGowan available again. "He's been around the block a few times and got good experience of the highs and lows of management. They have players who are industrious and others who can hurt teams so there is no reason why Inverness can't continue the success of the last 18 months."

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