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‘MY CALEY JAGS TEAM WOULD TEST HOOPS,’ EX-BOSS HUGHES

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SCOTTISH Cup-winning boss John Hughes believes his Inverness Caley Thistle side would give Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic a run for their money.
The Hoops take on the Highlanders in the fifth round on Saturday at Parkhead with Richie Foran now in charge of the team sitting at the foot of the Premiership.
Remarkably, they are the only side to take points from the Parkhead pacesetters this season, thanks to a stoppage-time equaliser in the 2-2 draw back in September.

Former Hoops defender Hughes thinks talk of a treble will inspire Rodgers and his players, but admits he wouldn’t rule out an upset.

He led the Caley Jags to a 3-2 semi-final victory over Ronny Deila’s Celts at Hampden on the way to lifting the club’s first major piece of silverware two years ago.IMG_0870

And he thinks his heroes of 2015 would match up well against the current Parkhead outfit.

He said: “We’d have given them a game, that’s for sure. I think Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic’s side are a formidable team.

“You won’t get two better centre halves than the two who were there under Ronny in terms of Virgil van Dijk and Jason Denayer.

“Those two were poetry in motion; they complimented each other with Van Dijk probably the better of the two. The partnership they had was full of pace.

“In my time in Inverness, we were at it, we were playing with confidence and we would take anybody on. That’s what happened in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

“I went to watch them against Kilmarnock and you just get one of those moments where you’re watching the game tactically and I said: ‘I’m going to have a right go at Celtic’.

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“I had two guys in my team, Edward Ofere, who was a big physical presence, and I got him wound up to play against Denayer and bully him.

“I had the quickest guy in Scottish football in Marley Watkins, who is now playing at Barnsley.

“I said your job is to play against Van Dijk and don’t let him get on the ball and we forced Celtic to go and kick it. When they kick it who are they kicking it to?

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“They had Leigh Griffiths up top and Stefan Johansen in the hole and all we had to do was go and squeeze it and make sure our centre-halves won the headers and go and play off the second balls.

“I have to say we got a lot of luck that day, but you need luck and if Caley Thistle are going to beat Celtic on Saturday, then they are going to have a goalkeeper who is outstanding and carry a lot of luck.”

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