Hibs boss Jack Ross refuses to get caught up in negativity after Edinburgh derby defeat

Easter Road manager doesn’t want to focus too much on one result

Friday, 6th March 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 6th March 2020, 6:15 am

Jack Ross has insisted he ignored the maelstrom of negativity which descended on Easter Road following Hibs’ shock derby defeat by Hearts.

Angry fans, predictably, took to social media to berate the head coach and his players after they’d gone down 3-1 in a match many saw as an opportunity not only to boost their own Europa League credentials but to add to their city rivals’ difficulties at the wrong end of the Premiership table.

“It’s not true, is it?” asked Jack of the sudden change in mood while adamant he wasn’t trying to brush off the obvious bitter disappointment. “If we had lost ten games in a row, fine. But it’s not true, so there’s no other answer to it.

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Hibs manager Jack Ross watched his side lose to rivals Hearts on Tuesday. Picture: SNS

“We’ve got to be careful of speaking about negativity after one result. I think it’s very indicative of the world we live in now, particularly football – opinion changes so dramatically in such a short period of time.

“It’s a strange thing nowadays and that’s why you have to try to retain a clarity of thought and how you view things because if you get caught up in that noise it affects your decision making.

“It’s not about playing down the soreness of the game, I’m at pains to point that out. Just because you behave or speak in a certain way doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

“It is about trying to see the bigger picture, that in a 38 league game season we finish as high up the league as we can.”

While being beaten by Hearts left Hibs sitting sixth in the table, they remain very much in the chase for a place in next season’s Europa League, their results in recent weeks having been more consistent than the other sides involved, tomorrow’s opponents Aberdeen, Motherwell and Livingston.

An impressive string of results following the winter break, only a narrow defeat by Rangers at Ibrox blotting their copy book before Tuesday night’s derby loss, means Hibs now sit in a far better position than when his predecessor Paul Heckingbottom was sacked in November, the Yorkshireman having overseen a dismal run of 13 games without a win which had put them perilously close to the relegation zone and culminated with a Betfred Cup semi-final defeat by Celtic at Hampden.

Ross said: “It probably highlights what I’ve been saying about negativity. We have been good, not just in terms of performances but the mindset has had to be good.

“We were just off the bottom of the table, picking up a point a game which, if you average it out over the season, 38 points from 38 games means you are probably bang in trouble.

“Now we are up to near a point and a half, or just under it, so the mindset to get into that position and put together that run has been good.

“I looked at the game and there were bits we could have done better of course.

“It is sore, but we are alright, we are better than alright. We have a good squad, a good mentality and the opportunity to bounce back with three points tomorrow.”

Ross conceded that the outcome of the matches involving the other sides battling for European slots 24 hours later meant, in essence the loss to Hearts, as

hard as it was to take, had done little harm to Hibs’ ambitions.

He said: “They were okay for us. When you play the day before everyone else, no matter what you are chasing, even if you do pick up the points, it is still of interest the following evening. It puts a different dynamic on the game – so they were okay for us.

“They certainly didn’t do us any harm. I suppose they could have been slightly better for us if you are being greedy

in that regard, but they were okay.”

Ross admitted he didn’t hang around to watch Daniel Stendel’s players celebrate a victory which lifted them off the foot of the table for only 24 hours as Hamilton pulled off an even bigger shock in beating Rangers at Ibrox.

But, he insisted, he had no problems with them enjoying the moment in front of their own fans housed in the South Stand at Easter Road while expressing the hope that it will be him and his players who do so when the teams meet again in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup at Hampden on Saturday, April 11.

He said: “I didn’t watch them, I waited down the tunnel to see their staff and their players, as I would do, because you have to be gracious

enough to accept when you have been beaten, and

we were well beaten the other night.

“But we celebrated at Tynecastle when we won, we have no problem with a team celebrating winning game, it’s why we watch football.

“You have just got to make sure you come out the right end of it and both teams have an opportunity to be on the right end of those celebrations in four or five weeks’ time.”