'Enjoy game for right reasons' - Jack Ross tells Hibs fans to be on best behaviour against Hearts
Hibs boss speaks again in wake of bottle-throwing incident against Rangers
Jack Ross has pleaded with Hibs fans to behave during the Boxing Day derby at Tynecastle, insisting those guilty of throwing missiles are trashing the Easter Road club’s good name.
The capital outfit have found themselves in the spotlight once again for all the wrong reasons after a bottle was thrown at Rangers player Borna Barisic as he received treatment following a crude tackle by Ryan Porteous which earned the Hibs youngster a straight red card and a two match ban.
It followed two incidents at the ground earlier this year in which a fan confronted Rangers skipper James Tavernier and another bottle being thrown in the direction of Celtic’s Scott Sinclair.
Trouble has also flared in derbies at Tynecastle, most recently Hearts goalkeeper Bobby Zlamal assaulted by a fan and Hibs head coach Neil Lennon was struck by a coin thrown from behind the away dug out.
Asked what his message would be to Hibs supporters ahead of Thursday’s match, Ross said: “Enjoy the game for the right reasons - which the vast majority do every single week. It’s a fairly simple message and not a difficult message to put across and for them to take on board.
“The vast, vast majority do that game after game. This is a good football club. I get why there is so much focus on this issue. And I don’t think any club wants that to become their reputation.”
Porteous’ red card sparked a melee in the technical areas which resulted in Hibs assistant head coach John Potter and Rangers technical coach Tom Culshaw both being sent to the stand.
But Ross was adamant there was no connection, saying: “It’s very, very dangerous to link something like a bottle being thrown on the pitch to anything that goes on – I don’t buy into that.
“I have no problem about the position people in football are in but we work in a highly, highly emotive job. If you are on the pitch or on the sidelines it is very difficult to be passionless within that. But it should never be an excuse for someone throwing a bottle. That’s just being an idiot. Full stop.”
And Hibs skipper David Gray echoed his head coach’s words, admitting such incidents have happened too often. He said: “The vast number of our supporters have been fantastic over the years and I fully expect it to be the same on Boxing Day.
“But there’s obviously that minority of people who want to take matters into their own hands. All we can do as players is say we don’t condone it and we’d like you to be respectful of the players and your fellow supporters.
“It’s unacceptable. The last thing you want is for someone to get seriously hurt. The sad thing is the focus goes onto something else. Friday nights under the lights at Easter Road are usually fantastic occasions, then something like this happens and it puts a dampener on it. There’s no place for it in football or anywhere.”