'Not great since Boxing Day': Honest Jack Ross waits to see Hibs players' response to cup disappointment

Like a club draped along the psychiatrist’s couch, Hibs’ mentality has been delved into and scrutinised in the hours and days since they suffered a second-half surrender to St Johnstone in the semi-final of the Betfred Cup on Saturday.

Hibs manager Jack Ross takes a training session ahead of the midweek league match against Rangers. Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group

While manager Jack Ross lamented a lack of character and guts, others have diagnosed mental weakness. Some prognoses have divided opinion, there seems to be a consensus when it comes to the team’s resolve, or lack thereof, at Hampden.

After airing his views, Ross is now watching and waiting to see how his players respond.

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“There has to be a reaction from all of us, players and staff, when you have dropped below accepted standards as we did and then you receive deserved criticism in the aftermath. You have to show that resolve and respond to that. That's the nature of our job.

“You also look to see what reaction you get.”

Earlier in the season resilience was evident in the way the team battled back from going behind or being pegged back, while the odd loss served as an incentive to do better next time out but that dogged drive appears to have disappeared in recent weeks.

“There are a lot of them who have had good seasons but we have not been great since Boxing Day. We have not been good at facing adversity but that will always come in games. You need to be prepared to be resilient through those periods. It’s just a case of taking a breath and taking that responsibility on and they will absolutely do that. They still, very much, have my faith and trust.

“Usually the guys who get to the very top have the strongest mindsets as well as having talent. The guys here have got to a very, very good level because, I would argue, their mindset is a lot stronger than those who don't get to that level. But they will still have flaws, like all of us have, and weaknesses at times.

"I think acknowledging it is a good starting point rather than shying away from it and pretending it’s not there. Our reaction at the weekend wasn’t good but it can be and it has been in the past so it is about us encouraging them and reminding them.

“But there’s no point in just talking about it, you’ve got to action it, and the only way to do that is on the pitch and we have the chance to do that right away, on Wednesday night.”

Although he admits that the realm of sports psychology interests him and could be beneficial to his players, he says there are difficulties in looking for a one-size-fits all solution.

“I have had a long-standing interest in that side of sport but I think it is a very individual thing. In football, you are working with 25 very different characters and minds so to deliver that in a group setting is sometimes more challenging.

“I’m more of a believer in myself and my staff, being the ones who should be educated and learn more about that side of things and there will be players who will be conscientious enough to go, off their own back, to explore that side of the game and I think they are right to do that.”

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