Jack Ross in Hibs 'control' message as managerial change adds extra intrigue to race for third
Hibs manager Jack Ross says the only way his side can eradicate concerns that Aberdeen may benefit from a managerial bounce as the clubs battle for third is to get back to winning their own games.
Already three points ahead, they have the opportunity to double that advantage on Saturday when they play their game in hand in Dingwall. Describing it as a “huge, huge game”, with their fate in their own hands, Ross says his Easter Road squad just need to work on retaining that control.
“If we can control our results, and control them in a positive way, we don’t have to worry about anyone else.”
But he acknowledged that there was an element of the unknown following fourth-placed Aberdeen’s decision to part company with manager Derek McInnes.
“It will be a big change for that club. He was someone who led that club for a significant period, and led them well. That leadership goes beyond the result on a match day. It covers so many facets of a football club. I’m sure there will be a lot of people at that club who will miss him and his staff round the place and the leadership qualities that Derek had,” said Ross, who is disappointed to see the man who reached out to him when he was sacked by Sunderland temporarily out of the game.
“I don’t think Derek ever felt that I needed comfort or someone to lift me, I think he was just speaking openly about how he had reacted to it [when he was sacked by Bristol City] and how he then pushed himself forward.”
McInnes’ departure after eight years at Pittodrie means that half of the clubs in the top flight have changed managers this term, leaving Ross the fourth longest serving Premiership boss despite being appointed just 16 months ago.
“It’s part of the profession we are in. We would all love it to be a more stable and forgiving profession. But it’s not and that’s the brutal truth. To be a manager, you have to have certain qualities and one of them is being incredibly thick-skinned. You have to have the courage of your convictions, be resilient and pretty strong-minded and strong-willed. If you have those qualities, it enables you to deal with the setbacks and the sore bits along the way. We understand it is part of the job. It would be nice if it wasn’t but it is so there is no point in shying away from it.
“For us now as managers, the opinion of whether you are good or bad changes almost on a weekly basis. Or game by game. You are either really, really good at the job or really bad. The truth is usually somewhere in between.
“The people who are managing at a certain level of the game have the ability to do so and have proven that. They will make mistakes and get things wrong and will have football go against them. Speak to any manager: that’s the hardest part of our job. You can work tirelessly at it, prepare as thoroughly as you can, and things can happen on a matchday that you have no control over.”
Control is what he says Hibs must retain, though, as the season reaches its conclusion.