The former Hibs, Hartlepool and Falkirk manager will now ‘explore further football opportunities’ after his five months in Dingwall – a second Highland success after he led neighbours Inverness Caledonian Thistle to the Scottish Cup six years ago.
The short-term contract was up for renewal at the end of the Premiership campaign and the 56-year-old has elected to move on.
Hughes told the Staggies’ website: “I would like to thank the players, staff and supporters. I have enjoyed my time at Ross County I was appointed with the objective of securing Premiership football and I am proud to have achieved this under the circumstances. I wish Roy MacGregor and Ross County every success for the future.”
The goodwill was returned by the club in the announcement of the manager’s departure which added: “We would like to place on the record our thanks to John for his hard work and commitment to Ross County and wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.
“As outlined by our Chairman in recent interviews, the club is currently taking stock of our position and we are working extremely hard to deliver a long-term, strategic plan to support the continuing success of Ross County FC in the Scottish Premiership, and what we see as the beginning on a new era here in Dingwall.
“With this in mind, the club will now begin the process of finding our new manager.”
After replacing Stuart Kettlewell in the Highlands with the Dingwall club bottom of the SPFL Premiership, Hughes accrued 26 points from 21 games – enough to lift the club off the basement and into safety of tenth place to avoid the SPFL Premiership play-off which will be decided by Kilmarnock and Dundee this evening.
Hughes is the second former Hibees boss to enter the jobs market in the space of a few hours today with former Easter Road boss Jim Duffy leaving Dumbarton after retaining their status in League Two by a play-off win over Edinburgh City.