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Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Saturday, 23 May 2009 16:40 UK

Hughes delight at avoiding drop

Falkirk manager John Hughes
John Hughes says he thrives under the pressure of a relegation battle

Falkirk manager John Hughes says he experienced the full gamut of emotions as his side avoided relegation to beat 10-man Inverness and send them down.

"I'm just delighted for the players as they've been through the mire this year," Hughes said after the 1-0 win.

"We're thankful to get a second opportunity after last week and we've taken it by coming up here and winning.

"But it feels like we've won it by default against 10 men. I had a go at them at half-time. We got our reward."

Inverness defender Ross Tokely was sent off in the 39th minute following a challenge on Falkirk striker Steve Lovell.

The game remained goalless until Bairns substitute Michael Higdon scored the only goal of the game from close range after 68 minutes.

Falkirk stood firm in the face of a ferocious late Inverness onslaught. But, despite securing their SPL status for next season, Hughes said the lack of transfer funds available to bolster his squad was a cause for concern.

"In the current financial climate, we've got about 14 players out of contract and I think we can only keep about half of them," he said.

"And you're talking about first-team players who were out there today. I'm disappointed in that to tell you the truth.

"You could probably guess how much money we've made to get into the semi-final of the CIS Cup and get all the way to the final of the Scottish Cup.

"It's very frustrating; your hands are tied, but that's for a talk between me and the board of directors."

Hughes said that, far from feeling stressed about the relegation dogfight, he thrived on the atmosphere inside the Caledonian Stadium.

"If I didn't get that adrenaline and emotion then I wouldn't come on a Saturday. That's what football is all about," the Falkirk manager added.

"I've learned a lot of lessons this year. It will stand me and the team in good stead. Hopefully we can kick on from here.

"What a fantastic season it's been: staying in the SPL, semi final of the CIS Cup and a Scottish Cup final to look forward to. It's not too bad."



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see also
Inverness CT 0-1 Falkirk
23 May 09 |  Scottish Premier
SPL as it happened
23 May 09 |  Scottish Premier
SPL photo gallery
23 May 09 |  Scottish Premier


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