Jack Ross hails Hibs playing squad for way they dealt with wage deferrals

Manager pleased that players will be ‘looked after’ before recruitment recommences

By Mark Atkinson
Sunday, 5th April 2020, 1:53 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th April 2020, 1:54 pm
Hibs head coach Jack Ross.
Hibs head coach Jack Ross.

Hibs head coach Jack Ross has praised his playing squad for the way they have dealt with wage deferrals at the club.

The Easter Road outfit announced on Friday that they had come to agreement with players and staff to make provisions for the coronavirus crisis and the resultant shutdown of Scottish football. Hibs have put the majority of its staff on furlough, with some individuals taking deferrals of between 20 and 50% to their pay.

In addition, Hibs owner Ron Gordon has vowed not to sign any additional players until monies due to the existing squad are paid back.

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“I think for us a club, we have had to react as the pandemic situation has accelerated quickly,” Ross said.

“I was fortunate that I was in regular communication with our sporting director [Graeme Mathie] and chief executive [Leeann Dempster] since it started, since football was shut down initially, and the conversation evolved into one with our chairman, Ron Gordon, and then our club captain David Gray.

“We had sensible conversations about what might be the best way forward to ensure the future of the football club and all that work at it because there's obviously a large part of the club that's non-playing as well.

“I think the club deserves a lot of credit, as do the players, because the willingness to buy into to what we were trying to do to defer their salaries for a significant period of time will obviously help the club hopefully get through this difficult period we are in at the moment.”

Hibs captain David Gray is part of the PFA Scotland committee and Ross admitted that was a big help when it came down to negotiations.

“It was beneficial [to have captain David Gray on the PFA committee],” Ross continued. “We spoke with David when we felt it was the right time, when it was clear that we were not going to return to playing any time in the near future. It meant that the club had to look very clearly at what it wanted to do.

“At that stage, I'm fortunate that I've got somebody as sensible as David and also the willingness of the playing staff.

“We had a conference call with them last weekend when it was first put forward and I think quite quickly they agreed to what was put forward to them. I think, all in all, we've approached it in the best possible way and we've come out with the best possible outcome.”

Ross added in an interview with Sky Sports TV: “I was quite clear that I wanted to protect the playing squad that we have in place at the moment and be grateful to them for the sacrifices that they are making at the moment for us.

“When we eventually return to playing, we'll ensure that we are all looked after, the players are looked after before we go and recruit.

“We've got a number of players who are still out of contract anyway but for me, as the manager, it's much more important to pay recognition to the players that have bought into this and being part of that group that hopefully takes us forward when we return to playing.”