Hibs boss Jack Ross looking for the secret to derby success at Hampden
There will be little scope for surprises when Jack Ross and Robbie Neilson take on the roles of derby foes tomorrow evening.
Their paths have crossed too often and their research will have been too thorough to allow for secrets as they attempt to navigate safe passage into the Scottish Cup final.
And, the Hibs and Hearts bosses have also spent the past couple of months detailing their modus operandi in a number of SFA coaching webinars.
“There is a respect there for how each other works,” revealed Ross, who also worked under Neilson during the Hearts boss’ first stint in the Tynecastle hotseat, “and there will be some similarities in how we go about our job.
‘We have both been guest tutors on the SFA A Licence so, if there was anything we didn’t know about each other, there isn’t now – because we’ve had to be pretty open for the candidates on the course.”
But knowing what to expect is one thing, having the right players at their disposal to combat any threat may be another.
“It’s not really about him or I, it’s about the players on the pitch,” acknowledged Ross. “All we can do is prepare them and make sure they’re ready. It always comes down to how players perform and the fine margins.
“All managers will have a consistency about their approach and their outlook on the game. The detail and specifics only really come into play when you’re preparing for each individual opponent; how we feel they can hurt them, where they might hurt us.”
Ross has had Hearts watched but even before any reports had been submitted, Ross’ knowledge of his managerial counterpart had given him a jumpstart.
“Their performances are reflective of a group of players who believe they can achieve success in the league this season and win matches.
“That hasn’t taken me by surprise because that’s what Robbie has done previously in the Championship, put together a group of players with a focus and drive about them.
‘I knew we’d be facing a team who had probably made a good start in the league. And that in itself breeds confidence.
‘Equally, I have a squad in the best possible frame of mind – and they’re excited about the challenge.”
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