Jack Ross: I know why the television cameras have picked Dundee United v Hibs ...

Easter Road coach keen to avoid a shock against Championship leaders

Saturday, 18th January 2020, 7:30 am
Jack Ross. Pic: SNS

Jack Ross has admitted he knows full well why tomorrow’s Scottish Cup tie against Dundee United at Tannadice has been chosen as one of the weekend’s televised matches.

It is, he agreed, an attractive match between two good football teams, but he knows full well the cameras will be there hoping to capture something of an upset.

But while conceding an away match against a side currently running away with the Championship – Robbie Neilson’s players are 17 points out in front – wasn’t one he’d have chosen, the Hibs head coach insisted it will also bring out the best in his players.

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“It’s probably been picked as a televised match for a couple of reasons,” he said. “One, it’s an attractive match between two good teams. But the TV cameras are usually there because they have an inkling that there might be an upset.

“It goes with the territory. It will be a big match, a good crowd, a good stadium to play in. So in terms of being motivated, there will be no flatness at all.”

While United got on with tightening their stranglehold on the Championship title, Ross took his players to the Costa del Sol for some warm weather training, a trip which concluded with a 2-1 win over Dutch outfit Willem II, but, he revealed, tomorrow’s game was never far from his thoughts.

He said: “It has helped us, having this game to plan for during the break. Coming back to this kind of match is beneficial. You can get all sorts of draws thrown at you in the cup.

“So, while it’s maybe not the draw we would have picked, because it’s such a challenging one, it does have it’s advantages. The players know how they’ve trained over the past couple of weeks, even yesterday there was a focus about them because they know they’re going to have to play well. That has helped me.”

Hibs also had a bounce match against Motherwell – played at Easter Road on Tuesday – to help put the finishing touches to their preparations, Ross well aware of the pitfalls in having such as match following the break.

He said: “We spoke about it as a club because Hibs had a previous experience of coming back from the break and being knocked out of the cup. I think Motherwell and other Premiership clubs have also come back from their break and struggled in the cup.

“There are no guarantees, but you just try to cover as many bases as you can. We had the game in Spain then Motherwell. It was competitive in a good way and it allowed us to get game minutes. It was great for Stephen Robinson and myself.”