Hibs boss Jack Ross has say on Hearts statement after appointing Daniel Stendel

Head coach 'not bothered' by name-check from former club

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 7:30 am
Updated Saturday, 14th December 2019, 2:48 pm
Jack Ross. Pic: SNS

Jack Ross has shrugged off Hearts' jibe that he’d finished up second best to new Tynecastle manager Daniel Stendel during their time in England.

In announcing the German was to take the helm in Gorgie, a club statement in praise of his time as Barnsley boss noted he’d led “the Oakwell outfit to a second placed finish ahead of Jack Ross’ Sunderland” and secured a return to the Championship at the first time of asking.

But, revealed the Hibs head coach, as Hearts were revealing Stendel as Craig Levein’s successor soon after losing to Motherwell last Saturday evening, he was enjoying a night at a pantomime having watched his side turn in their best performance of the season in beating Aberdeen 3-0 that afternoon.

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He said: “I went to see Jack and the Beanstalk. I enjoyed the victory, I enjoyed the pantomime and, truthfully, the statement did not have any impact on me whatsoever.

“It’s no big deal as far as I’m concerned. I know some people made a big deal about it but I wasn’t bothered. It was what it is and we move on."

Ross and Stendel’s paths will cross again when the Capital clubs meet at Tynecastle in the second Edinburgh derby of the season on Boxing Day and, insisted the Easter Road boss, that’s all the motivation he’ll need.

He said: “I played against Daniel in a 61-game season. I had 30-odd other opponents that season. The games were enjoyable, tough and, ultimately, his Barnsley team won promotion at the expense of more than 20 other teams – not just me.

“I enjoyed the games and we did well in them. It was okay on the touchline with Daniel, I’ve had more fiery games than that. We won once and drew the other against Barnsley but they won promotion, which was what it was about.”

Ross insisted he couldn’t predict what change Stendel might engineer in Gorgie saying: “I’ve not seen an awful lot of Hearts this season. I can’t say what he will do will be drastically different because I don’t know what’s gone before. I’ll look more closely at Hearts once I have the next couple of fixtures out the way.”

Those next fixtures are against either side of the Old Firm, Celtic in Glasgow tomorrow followed by a visit from Rangers on Friday night, Ross well aware of the threat Neil Lennon’s side pose but adamant he and his players are looking forward to the challenge of playing the champions in their own back yard.

He said: “Probably the thing that separates them a lot of the time from other teams in the league is their ability to be ruthless. Therefore, we have to limit the opportunities we give them to be ruthless.

“That might be how we set up or what we do within the game, but we also have to get the players to trust in what we’re doing. So there will be a trade-off in that respect.”