Why my former boss Jack Ross ticks all the boxes for Hibs
St Mirren star Ryan Flynn hails bookies favourite
Jack Ross would create a positive working environment and allow attacking players to flourish if he gets the chance to succeed Paul Heckingbottom as Hibs manager, according to a player who rediscovered his love for football under him at St Mirren.
Ryan Flynn joined the Buddies from Oldham Athletic in January 2018 when the Paisley side were midway through their climb towards the Championship title under Ross.
The 43-year-old, who was headhunted by Sunderland at the end of that campaign, is currently the odds-on favourite to become the next Hibs manager after being sacked by the Wearside club a month ago. St Mirren midfielder Flynn believes his former boss would be perfectly equipped for the Easter Road role.
“I loved my time playing under Jack so I only have good things to say about him,” the 31-year-old told the Evening News. “It was obviously a really successful time. I hadn’t been enjoying my football down south but I enjoyed going into work every day under Jack. I think if you asked the majority of players who have worked under him they would say the same. I played with (former Hibs striker) Marc McNulty at Sheffield United and when I spoke to him earlier this season he was enjoying working under Jack at Sunderland. “Around the training ground, he created a really good atmosphere. He’s fair - he was very honest with me and let me know where I stood. He’s also firm when he needs to be. Training was enjoyable, he played a style of football that was all about attacking the opposition and getting at them. A lot of the attacking players in our team really flourished under him – Lewis Morgan had a great season under him, Cammy Smith got player of the year and Kyle Magennis came through under him and was brilliant.”
Flynn explained how Ross was meticulous in his preparation as he led St Mirren back into the Premiership just a year after saving them from relegation on the last day of the season. “You want players to express themselves and he was very good at getting the balance between trying to take the pressure off the players but also making sure we were all focused and ready for what we had to do when the season got to the business end,” Flynn explained. “He always had us well prepared for games. We knew exactly what our jobs were and we knew what formations our opponents were going to play so there was no surprises when it came to a game day. All managers have got to make decisions during games to change things and he was very good at that. It wasn’t just all about getting promoted for him, though, he was doing a lot to build the club up behind the scenes. But when the Sunderland job came up, it was one he couldn’t really refuse.”
Ross, who began his managerial career with Alloa Athletic after a spell as Hearts’ Under-20s coach, was sacked by Sunderland last month after missing out on promotion from League One last term and then falling eight points behind leaders Ipswich Town after 11 games of this season. Flynn believes his 17 months at the Stadium of Light would stand him in good stead for the Hibs job. “When you look at it, he didn’t really do a bad job down there,” said Flynn. “I don’t think there was a harder job to take at the time than the Sunderland job so he’ll have learned things from that. Hibs are a very well-run club and if he got the chance to take the job there, I don’t think he’d have to deal with as much behind the scenes.”