Hibs boss Jack Ross laments Covid impact and calls on players to deliver festive cheer

Hibs manager Jack Ross does not expect fans back inside Easter Road any time soon. Photo by Mark Scates / SNS GroupHibs manager Jack Ross does not expect fans back inside Easter Road any time soon. Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group
Hibs manager Jack Ross does not expect fans back inside Easter Road any time soon. Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group
Hibs manager Jack Ross is not holding out much hope of welcoming fans back to Easter Road any time soon, lamenting the fact the scenario seems to be more and more improbable.

With a new variant of the coronavirus threatening a rise in cases and tighter lockdown measures about to be imposed, plans for the phased return on punters have been sidelined and the disappointed Hibs boss believes there is now an even greater onus on the staff and players to deliver some festive cheer.

“I think we have probably had to park the emotional aspect of [welcoming back fans]. We have spoken regularly about wanting to have them back in stadia and how much it means for us to have supporters inside Easter Road. But, at the moment, it seems to be getting pushed further away rather than getting closer and we just need to try to keep that engagement with our supporters going as much as possible and hopefully give them positive escapism from what is going on in day-to-day life, through good performances, and good results,

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“It has been a peculiar year, a peculiar season and if getting supporters back does come around then fantastic. But, in the short-term, certainly, I don’t think we will see any change.”

With a flurry of games between now and the end of January, including four in 10 days over Christmas and New Year, Ross says there is one way they can brighten the mood.

“I think we are a humble enough group to appreciate we are fortunate that we still get to do our job, but we don’t have to look too far to see the impact it is having on people, not just their livelihoods but their mental health as well.

“I do think we understand that we are offering people who watch football the chance to take something from that. We have a group who are acutely aware of the chance we have to provide, at times, some level of enjoyment to people.”

And, while the prolonged staging of closed door games impacts the club’s finances, he does not believe it will derail plans to strengthen in a couple of positions during the January transfer window.

“The club, through a variety of measures have negotiated this period pretty well and got through it in an okay position. Obviously, that’s with terrific backing along the way from supporters.

“There should still be scope to strengthen in one or two areas but I don’t think we need to do too much.

“I wouldn’t expect anywhere near the level of activity we had last year. That’s due to the current environment but also the stability of this group and the fact the performance level has been much better than it was over the first part of last season.

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“The results we have had already points to us having a good group and the players, by and large, have performed. So, ultimately, if I had the squad I have just now to go into the remainder of the season, I would be okay with that because they have done brilliantly for me.”

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