Ryan Porteous can handle any Rangers provocation, says Hibs manager Jack Ross
Hibs manager Jack Ross said he trusts young defender Ryan Porteous to deal with any needle during this weekend’s Premiership tussle with Rangers.
The centre-back has been involved in some contentious moments in previous meetings with this season’s champions, especially involving Ibrox striker Alfredo Morelos.
The emotional Colombian received a three-game ban for a stamp on the 22-year-old defender the last time the teams played at the end of January. But, the Hibs gaffer has faith in Porteous’ ability to cope with any niggling as the Leith side travel to Govan fully focused on the task in hand.
Determined to wrap up third place as soon as possible, there are the added incentives of denying Rangers the opportunity to extend their 15-month run without a domestic loss on home turf and carve their own names into Hibs’ history books with a record-breaking number of away wins in the top tier.
Having played so well against Steven Gerrard’s men, with minimal return – after a draw in September they have succumbed to two 1-0 losses – the Hibs boss says he wants his men to win their individual battles and says the only advice he will be offering Porteous will be gameplan-related.
“I’ll speak to him about [Morelos] on the tactical side, as in what we expect from Rangers as a front three and how they play the game and how to try to deal with it.
“We’ve not kept a clean sheet against them this season so we are looking at trying to do aspects of that better. But beyond that, no [I won’t be discussing it, with Ryan].
“First of all I trust Ryan and he needs to know I trust him in that respect so it’s not something we need to emphasise to him.
“He’s matured brilliantly this season in terms of his disciplinary record. He knows that but I still want him to be competitive and I’m sure Steven will tell Alfredo Morelos to be competitive because it’s part of football and why we like it.
“There are battles all over the pitch, they catch people’s attention and they can win and lose you games as well.”