St Johnstone V Inverness CT at McDiarmid Park : Match Preview

21 February 2014 05:31
St Johnstone V Inverness CT - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Cregg understands old friend Hughes

St Johnstone midfielder Paddy Cregg knows the loyalty and determination John Hughes will inspire in opponents Inverness having remained friends with his former boss.

Cregg played under Hughes at Falkirk and Hibernian and has kept in touch with the Inverness manager despite being released by Hughes after his first season at Easter Road.

But the friendship will go out of the window when Caley Thistle visit McDiarmid Park on Saturday.

Cregg said: "John Hughes was very good to me. I'd class him a friend and I class him a very good man, and I'm glad he is back in football. He's a very good guy, but that goes out of the window on Saturday.

"He is very likeable and very fair and honest with you.

"I speak to him the odd time, just wishing him luck. And knowing when he was out of football, I would see how he was.

"He was very good to me over the years, so that's the way it is."

Cregg is determined to get victory as sixth-placed Saints look to close the gap on the Highlanders to three points.

"We finished third last season and we definitely want to finish in the top six again this season and Saturday is a great chance to close the gap on Inverness," Cregg said. "This is a game we feel we need to get three points from."

The Irishman added: "I have been in and out so I want to get in the team and stay in the team and do as well for the team as possible. That's my main objective now."

Inverness boss John Hughes admits he may have cost Graeme Shinnie his place in Gordon Strachan's squad for next month's friendly clash in Poland.

The Dark Blues manager has called up Dundee United left-back Andrew Robertson, but Hughes insists his defender Shinnie is better.

However, the Caley Thistle boss admits playing the 22-year-old out of position may have played into the hands of Arabs youngster Robertson.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's game, Hughes told CaleyJagsTV: "The boy Robertson at United has been called up and he is a wonderful footballer who will have a great career, so it's a great decision to call him up to the Scotland squad.

"But at this moment in time, is he better than Graeme Shinnie? No he's not. The reason I feel that way is because I'm the manager of Inverness and I am biased.

"Maybe Gordon has not had the chance to see him because he's only played left-back three times since I came to the club. Graeme is that versatile that he's been playing right-back or in midfield. But he's been getting man-of-the-match awards playing in those positions.

"Now we are seeing him at left back you can see him rampaging up and down that line, getting crosses in. He's just a great footballer.

"There is no doubt he has a massive career in front of him and hopefully it will be for Inverness for a long time."

And Hughes appealed to Strachan to give Shinnie more thought before naming his next squad.

He joked: "My message to Gordon - who is a good friend of mine and who plays at the same golf club as I do - is that if he doesn't get Graeme in the squad he won't be getting a game of golf next time.

"He is worth a look at and that is all I'm saying. I'm quite sure Graeme will be on Gordon's radar. I'm just banging the drum for Inverness and Graeme. I have been in the game for 25 years and I will say it: Graeme Shinnie is one of the best left-backs in Scotland."

Source: PA