Hibs boss Jack Ross reveals key chat with defender ahead of Rangers clash

Scotland U21 centre-half praised for improved disciplinary record

By Matthew Elder
Saturday, 19th September 2020, 7:27 pm
Updated Saturday, 19th September 2020, 7:47 pm
Hibs defender Ryan Porteous has been praised by Jack Ross for his improved disciplinary record this season. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Hibs defender Ryan Porteous has been praised by Jack Ross for his improved disciplinary record this season. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Hibs boss Jack Ross has spoken to Ryan Porteous to remind the young defender of the need to maintain his much-improved disciplinary record ahead of tomorrow's match against Rangers.

The Scotland under-21 internationalist was sent off the last time the Glasgow side visited Easter Road in December last year following a reckless tackle on Borna Barisic as Hibs crashed to a resounding 3-0 home defeat.

It was the centre-half's second red card in quick succession following a similarly ill-tempered challenge on Kilmarnock's Liam Miller during a Betfred Cup tie at Rugby Park last September.

Those disciplinary concerns have been addressed so far this campaign with Porteous picking up just one booking in the opening seven fixtures while producing impressive displays alongside Paul Hanlon at the heart of the defence which have helped Hibs collect 16 points, just three less than Steven Gerrard's pacesetters, while the Edinburgh side have yet to concede a goal from open play.

Ross revealed that he pulled the defender aside ahead of the Sunday lunchtime showdown to help ensure he maintains his focus.

"I was speaking to him this morning ahead of the game tomorrow, because naturally people bring up some instances that have happened in the past," Ross told BBC Sportsound.

"He's still a very young man and people forget that noise can sometimes affect people and they pay attention to it, especially at a young age.

"For him, it's about remembering the clear focus he's had this season. He's been clear-headed about what he needs to do in training every day, and what he needs to produce in terms of his performance level, and I've been delighted with him.

"He's looked like the player I think he can go on and be and keep improving.

"That aggression is very much a part of his game, but even statistically, his disciplinary record, not just in terms of cautions, but in terms of fouls, he's hardly conceded a foul this year, which is remarkable for the type of centre-half he is, because he is aggressive.

"The maturity naturally comes as you get another year older, but he's been very clear-headed in his focus and long may that continue."

Ross also revealed that he intends to set his team out to attack Rangers as Hibs look to become the first side to score against the record-breaking Ibrox side this season.

"I'm very respectful of the challenge we face because not only have they got really good individual players, their record this season and performance level has been very good," he said.

"We've picked a team and system that we think can give us that opportunity to create and score, but we've got to do every aspect of the game properly to do so.

"It's not a case of us going out tomorrow and trying to cling on and hope to nick a scrappy one. We have good strengths in our team going forward and hopefully there will be opportunities to show that tomorrow."