With pressure mounting on former Hibs boss Neil Lennon, whose position as Celtic manager remains precarious, the current Easter Road boss is one of those who has been linked with filling any potential Parkhead void.
It is known that members of the Celtic board are long-time admirers of Ross and have followed his managerial career with interest and there are strong suggestions that he could be among the frontrunners to replace Lennon should results fail to improve between now and the new year. Mathie is aware of the rumours and although he does not want to lose Ross, he has assured Hibs fans that contingencies are in place if that becomes a reality.
“Unfortunately, you just never know. But I’m not naive. We understand that Jack is a highly regarded head coach and manager, as he should be, and just as we are aware that our talented players might be wanted by others in January or at the end of the season, we also have to be aware of all of these other things and prepare appropriately.
“It is something I hope does not come across my desk any time soon. I think Jack is in the right place.”
Mathie was just weeks into his role as sporting director when he helped appoint Ross. That was in November last year and since his arrival Ross has taken the side into the semi final of last season’s Scottish Cup and is poised to move into the latter stages of this term’s Betfred Cup, with a winnable tie against Alloa next week. The team is also challenging for a place in Europe next year.
Mathie still believes the club and manager are the ideal fit. But he also accepts that any amount of success they enjoy together will only serve to heighten the determination to prise them apart.
“I don’t want this to be misinterpreted because we worked incredibly hard to bring Jack to the club in the first place, and we genuinely thought he was the right man for the job and everything we have seen since has pointed to that being the right decision, and we want him to be here for a long period of time.
“Part of Jack’s skillset is that he has got a mindset that suits being part of something long term. I don’t get the sense at all, in any dealings I have had with him, that this is a short term position for him but as I said, I am not naive and if there is a club that comes for him that gives him another challenge or significantly different terms and conditions then I would assume he would come to me and have a conversation about it.
“But when you hear these types of rumours, it is only prudent for us to consider if something like that was to happen some time in the future, then what would be our next move.”