Having turned his form around after a difficult start to his capital career, the 27-year-old Englishman agreed a new contract that will tie him to the Easter Road club for another two years, with the option of a third year on top of that, if it suits both parties.
And, Ross expressed his delight at being able to hold on to one of his prized performers, insisting there is even more to come from the former Birmingham City midfielder.
“I have spoken regularly about how good a season he has had and how good a player I think he is. I think his improvement is obvious and he is flourishing in that central role and I think it is a position that suits him best.
“I still believe he can get even better and strengthen those performances week in, week out but he has been a big player for us this season and in terms of giving us stability within the squad as we move forward, it helps to have another big player signed up.
“The by-product of winning games regularly is that your players attract more attention. But the fact that he has committed is hopefully a sign that the players are buying into what we are trying to achieve and share our ambition. We want to keep good players and Joe is a good player so it is a positive sign.”
With other star men such as Ofir Marciano and Jackson Irvine out of contract in the summer, and Kevin Nisbet and Ryan Porteous still being tracked, Newell’s decision was all the more important, according to his gaffer.
“Some players are more difficult than others to hold onto but where you can control things and get players to commit then you want to do as much as you can in that respect. The stability of the group is always important when you have a group that is heading in the right direction and, ideally, the summer will be about strengthening what we have rather than trying to rebuild again.”