John Potter jumped at chance to team up with old pal Jack Ross at Hibs

Hibs assistant boss John Potter serves Christmas dinner at the SPFL Trust's Festive Friends event at Easter Road. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Hibs assistant boss John Potter serves Christmas dinner at the SPFL Trust's Festive Friends event at Easter Road. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
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John Potter has revealed how a 20-year friendship forged as players together lay behind his decision to join Jack Ross as the new management team at Easter Road.

The pair were team-mates at Clyde and St Mirren but followed different paths as their careers moved into coaching before they were reunited again at Sunderland, part of a Scottish trio at the helm at the Stadium of Light with Ross, pictured, as boss, James Fowler his assistant and Potter as first-team coach.

That partnership, however, was dissolved as Ross was sacked by the Black Cats following a disappointing start to the season, a move which saw Fowler take up the newly created role of head of football operations at his old club Kilmarnock, leaving Potter behind on Wearside.

But not for long as Potter quickly joined his old mate as his assistant at Hibs and, like Ross, he insists he has no regrets at the time spent south of the border.

“It was a difficult decision to leave in that I really enjoyed my job down there,” he said. “It’s a brilliant club with really good people. It can be a wee bit crazy at times, but it’s a really, really good club.

“But the opportunity to come somewhere like this and work with Jack again was really important to me. It’s an opportunity I wanted to take straight away, as soon as it could be sorted out. To work with Jack again was kind of the main factor.”

However, as firm as their friendship might be, Potter acknowledged a strong working partnership was vital. He added: “It’s pretty straight forward. Some people when they see the two of us wonder how we’re friends because we are different.

“We first started playing with Clyde in 2001/02 I think. I played with him there and stayed friends. From there we played again at St Mirren and we spoke when I was at Dunfermline and he went and did the job at Hearts Under-20s then moved on to Alloa.

“I had different opportunities with him at Alloa and St Mirren that never happened for whatever reason. Then obviously the opportunity came at Sunderland and I loved it.

“We just get on. I’ve got total respect for him. He works really hard at his job, spends a lot of time making sure things are organised and done right.

“If you asked any of the players that have played under him, they’d say training is good, it’s hard and organised. We feel if it’s like that, you get the best out of the players.”

Although he enjoyed his time with Sunderland, Potter, who began coaching with Dunfermline’s youth set-up after the Pars went into administration, admitted it was also something of an eye-opener.

He said: “When we first went down it was all a bit over the place, we didn’t know what was happening, who was staying or going in terms of players and staff. We felt we did a good job to get it to where we left it.

“From my own point of view, I developed by dealing with high-profile players, players on a lot higher wages while it can be difficult playing two games a week, every week. There were certain things I thought I did quite well, certain things I’d so slightly differently – but that’s the same in every walk of life.

“But I’ve seen a bit of everything over the past four or five years. I learned a lot working with young players being in administration. To then get the opportunity with Jack down at Sunderland was one extreme to the other.”

Potter admitted he and Ross had been happy to be able to walk into Easter Road and simply get on with the job which has in the few weeks they’ve been in place taken Hibs back into the top half of the Premiership table.

“Here it’s a lot more settled in terms of staff,” he said. “We could walk in and get started on doing what we do. We’ve been impressed by everyone.”