JOHN HUGHES collected the Premiership Manager of the Month award for April yesterday and then attempted to bring a touch of realism to the game that so often loses sight of the fact that there are very many more important considerations in life than winning football matches.

Take, for example, the tragic death last weekend of former Scotland Under-21 midfield player Chris Mitchell, who was hit by a train at a level crossing near his home in Stirling.

Hughes has been deeply affected by the 27-year-old’s untimely passing, to the extent that he found it extremely difficult to keep his emotions in check when recalling that he had signed Mitchell for Falkirk.

“It's absolutely tragic and all our thoughts are with the family,” said the Inverness manager. “I signed the kid from Livingston and I’m starting to get emotional thinking about him. He always had a smile on his face.

“We had great laughs with him, too. One story about him really makes me laugh. We were in Holland for pre-season and he and Scott Arfield, who was one of his best mates, were part of a group of young lads with the squad.

"I said to them on the last night that they could have an evening out and I told Russell Latapy to keep an eye on them. He was the worst one I could have asked!

"They all ended up in a club and got blootered. Then Mitch decided go outside and start climbing on cars. But, unbeknown to him, one of the cars belonged to the club owner and the bouncers grabbed him and he was arrested.

"I was woken at 3am to tell me that Chris had been arrested. But as some of us had a drink earlier, we had to wake the waiter to drive us to the police station to pick Chris up.

“But when we went to get him, the police breathalysed the waiter as he'd been drinking, too, and he ended up being chucked in jail.

"The police decided not to charge Chris. But the waiter got done for drunk-driving! Every time I saw Chris after that I reminded him of what had happened.

"You can try and put your finger on it – and this doesn't just go for footballers – but when they've not got that get-up-and-go in the morning, it affects them. Look what happens to a lot of boxers when they stop going to the gym.”