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What can Dunfermline expect from John Hughes? ‘Teacher’, character, taskmaster

Hughes addresses his new charges In Inverness
Hughes addresses his new charges In Inverness

Owain fon Williams insists there is a studious ‘teacher’ and tough taskmaster behind the bombastic facade of new Dunfermline manager John Hughes.

The Wales internationalist is perfectly placed to offer insight, having been signed by ‘Yogi’ for Inverness in the summer of 2015.

He spent the subsequent campaign as Hughes’ first-choice stopper with the Caley Jags prior to the experienced coach leaving the Highlands a year later.

And, while fon Williams expects the former Hibs gaffer to lift spirits and put smiles on faces, he has urged onlookers not to be fooled by Hughes’ inimitable public demeanour.

Fon Williams challenges his opposite number, Mark Ridgers, during a fraught, gutsy finale

“He’s a teacher; a real tactician,” lauded the Pars keeper ahead of Hughes’ first training session on Monday morning.

“It’s like an education that he delivers.

“He doesn’t leave any stones unturned and goes through everything with a fine-tooth comb.

“It’s not going to be easy — I know his levels, work ethic and expectations.

“They are very high and you’ve got to work your socks off to get to those levels. But when you do reach those levels, you play very good football.”

110%

Hughes has already made his presence felt following his appointment last Friday.

Although Steven Whittaker and Greg Shields were in charge for Saturday’s 2-1 win against Inverness, the 57-year-old dashed down to the away dressing room at half-time.

Shields revealed that Hughes sought to lift spirits with the Pars trailing 1-0 to a Billy McKay strike.

And the turnaround after the break was stark, with a Danny Devine own goal and Dom Thomas’ curler securing a first league win at the 14th time of asking.

“He’s a massive character and that can influence a dressing room from the get-go, which it has,” continued fon Williams.

“The manager was about at half-time. That was great and you can see how much he cares. When he is involved with something, he is 110 per cent in. That’s the character he is.”

‘A kick up the backside’

Togetherness: The Pars

Indeed, Hughes may have already played something of a psychological masterstroke by telling Dunfermline players that the perception of them within Scottish football was a ‘laughing stock’ and ‘soft touch’.

Yet they were gutsy, organised and resilient in the Highlands.

“It’s not a bad thing to give someone the fear — a poke and a kick up the backside, to look in the mirror a little bit,” he added.

“No-one likes to be called soft and we certainly weren’t soft against Inverness.

“We fought until the very last kick. We had to due to the amount of balls being pumped into the box.”

John Hughes brings ‘fun and entertainment’ to Dunfermline as Greg Shields and Steven Whittaker futures become clear

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