Hibs laying foundations as Jack Ross reveals who he would 'love' to play more next season
Looking back on a season that is expected to prove one of their best and certainly one of the most consistent in recent times, Hibs manager Jack Ross says it would be folly for anyone at the club to rest on laurels.
Performances, in the background and out on the pitch, are likely to see the team finish third in the league table, and have produced semi-final chances in both cup competitions, with the possibility of even more as they embark on this season’s Scottish Cup campaign.
But while finishing the season in such a lofty spot would be a notable achievement in its own right, it would also offer a solid foundation for next season.
“The players have been excellent in terms of buying into what we want to do,” said Ross.
“At times, I don’t think they have been given enough credit because if you strip it back, this has been Ryan Porteous’ first full consistent season starting most weeks. It’s been a new experience for Paul McGinn, playing in a team challenging at this area of the table, the same with Alex Gogic, while Josh Doig had never played a first team game until this season. Add in Kevin Nisbet who is new to the Premiership, and yes, he had scored goals but no-one else at this level took a chance on him, and that is a major part of our regular starting line-up.
“If you look at what we have done as a squad, how individual players have evolved, you can add Joe Newell into that. What was Hibs fans’ opinion of Joe prior to this season and what is it now? So, if we finish where we are at the moment, they all deserve the rewards.”
But having put in the groundwork, Ross says there is no time to just stand back and admire their work.
“For me it is about trying to evolve. We have not been out of the top four all season, not one single week. That is brilliant and shows an element of consistency. But we still have a lot of work to do before we reach a point where I think we’re as strong as we can be.”
While Ofir Marciano will leave and Jackson Irvine is mulling over his options, the majority of the squad have signed on.
“I have a group of players here who have laid the foundations and are capable of giving the club a period of continued success. As I understand it, that hasn’t been done on a regular basis at this club. We want it season after season.
“So, next season is about trying to strengthen in the right way. We already have a group of players who know what is expected and we have young Steven Bradley, who has been a part of our group and I would love to see playing more first team football next year and do what Josh has done this season.
“We are going in the right direction and I think the players have been brilliant but it is now about ensuring that we don’t let that feeling dissipate. We have to keep moving forward. We have to recognise that this is a good time for us and have faith in what we are doing.”