Hibs' Jack Ross on why there will be no sentiment despite owing St Mirren so much
Head coach eyeing another three points in Paisley
Jack Ross admits he owes St Mirren a huge debt of gratitude - but insisted there will be no room for sentiment when he makes a return to Paisley with Hibs tonight.
After impressing as boss of Alloa Athletic, Ross took charge of the Buddies when they were threatened with relegation to League One. He lost his opening six games, a record which he concedes might have ended his managerial career there and then.
However, he survived to steer them to safety and then to the Championship title the following season, a turnaround which won him the chance to take over at Sunderland.
After only just failing to guide the Black Cats back into the English Championship he was sacked last month, paving the way for him to replace Paul Heckingbottom at Hibs.
Following the victory over Motherwell in his opening match as the capital club’s new head coach, Ross admitted he was looking forward to going back to The Simple Digital Arena, joking he’s more familiar with the surroundings there than he is those at Easter Road.
He hopes the fact he quickly took Sunderland there for a pre-season match after he left will help and although he’s now been away from Saints for more than 18 months, he still keeps in touch with a lot of people at the club.
Ross said: “I will obviously always be naturally associated with it. I’m not saying it’s a lot easier than people imagine, but to be a football manager you’ve got to be able to detach yourself from emotion a lot of the time anyway.
“If you get caught up in the emotion of everything you would probably crumble under the criticism you get at times. I’ve always looked at it as my job, it’s the profession I’ve chosen to go into.
“I need to do that the best I can and the best way for me to do that is to go and win tonight.”
Ross admitted his experiences at St Mirren were a huge part of his learning curve, helping him get the Sunderland job and now Hibs.
He said: “Everything we went through there, the more difficult times and the more enjoyable times, were really important for me. I lost my first six league games at St Mirren and for a young manager, that was not easy.
“It could have ended my management career quite quickly as well so I’ll always be grateful in terms of having that opportunity to come through that period.”
As much as he owes Saints, Ross insisted his entire focus is on building on Hibs back-to-back wins against St Johnstone and Motherwell but admitted it won’t be easy against a Buddies side which has lost just once at home - by a single goal to Rangers.
He said: “It’s a huge game for us because on Saturday things went well for us and propelled us into a much better position. We also know where it can take us but we are going to a venue where St Mirren have been really good this season.
“We will have to play as well as we did on Saturday. If we don’t, then we will find it difficult to win.”