The young fullback, who made a huge impact in his debut season in the top tier of Scottish football, winning personal accolades as well as a legion of fans, was left out of the matchday squad for last weekend’s trip to Fir Park, with the club admitting that buyers were circling and his manager conceding that a move seemed likely.
Worried that career-changing decisions could distract him, the 19-year-old was sidelined as the Easter Road club opened their new Premiership campaign with a 3-2 victory over Motherwell. But, almost a week later, the big-money offers have not materialised and Ross is keen to put the speculation behind them and get Doig’s mind back on Hibs.
“I’ve tried to be fairly frank in my explanation of the situation and I will do so again,” he said when quizzed about the future of the youngster who was listed among the substitutes for the Rijeka clash on Thursday.
Clearly exasperated by the drawn-out saga and the way it has disrupted his plans and unsettled the player he brought into the first team set-up at the start of last season, Ross admitted the past week’s negotiations had not played out as anticipated.
“We were very strongly led to believe that things would move quickly. They haven’t done so and if they [the club’s who expressed interest in buying Doig] don’t walk the walk like they talked the talk we will have to take control of the situation again.
“So, from now Josh will be part of my squad again unless something changes.”
The Edinburgh lad made a real impact at the beginning of last season, ousting stalwart Lewis Stevenson from the left-back berth. But this term he was derailed slightly after testing positive for covid and missing some of pre-season while he self-isolated but he has been catching up on his fitness, with Ross praising his attitude.
But the Leith manager admitted that despite Doig’s best endeavours his form, in training and in games, had suffered.
“But, now it’s about him showing good form to return to the team and push from there.”