John Hughes: ‘Taking on Hibs was easy part, now Raith Rovers have to keep standards high’

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JOHN Hughes insists taking on Hibs was the easy part – now Raith Rovers must prove they can hit the heights every week.

Hughes watched his side turn in a strong performance to earn a 1-1 draw with his old club last weekend as he made his debut as Gary Locke’s successor at Raith.

The Kirkcaldy outfit actually took the lead with a stunning Ryan Stevenson strike but were pegged back by a Jason Cummings free-kick.

Hughes was pleased with what he saw from his new charges but has warned them they cannot slack off when they seek their first win in 16 matches away to Queen of the South on Saturday.

The former Inverness Caley Thistle and Falkirk manager said: “My biggest concern is it’s easy to get yourself up for a game with a new manager, playing the best team in the league, at home. You don’t need any kind of motivation.

“How are we going to be when we go and play Queen of the South away from home?

“Because if we drop any kind of energy levels, any kind of concentration or focus we’ll get beat.

“Last weekend, we made sure we had a real solid shape and everybody knew their job. That was evident, out of possession, because we were hard to beat and solid.

“Hibs struggled at times to break us down, so much so that it was a wonderful free-kick that got them back in the game.

“In possession, there’s a lot of work to do. I want to keep the ball a lot more, I don’t want to give it away as cheaply; we need to look after it a lot better.

“But, in terms of what they gave me, I can’t complain.”

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Hughes accepts that confidence will have to built back up at Stark’s Park following a dismal run of results, stretching back to their last win in October, that eventually cost Locke his job earlier this month.

But, after penning a deal for the remainder of the season, he has pledged to devote himself to the job of reviving Raith’s fortunes – and expects dedication from his squad in return.

He added: “The last time I worked it was in the Premiership, winning the Scottish Cup with Inverness and getting them into Europe.

“Now I’m in at Raith Rovers, working in the Championship, and this means more to me right now than everything else.

“It’s important the players know they’ve got a manager who will be a friend for life.

“I’m right in it with them, and I want plenty back.

“If they want to sit back and rest on their laurels, and think their manager’s not seeing it then they’ll get left behind.

“What we’ve had so far has been great. Let’s just keep moving it forward.”

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