Hibs boss Jack Ross scathing of Florian Kamberi’s Rangers comments

The prospect of Florian Kamberi ever pulling on a Hibs jersey again has receded further after manager Jack Ross stressed the striker needed to “own” his words.
Hibs manager Jack Ross addresses the media ahead of the game against Rangers. Picture: Craig Foy/SNSHibs manager Jack Ross addresses the media ahead of the game against Rangers. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Hibs manager Jack Ross addresses the media ahead of the game against Rangers. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS

Few players have burned their bridges so effectively with a support than Kamberi managed when outlining his delight at having signed for the Ibrox club on loan on Friday evening. The problem for the striker is that he remains contracted to Hibs for another year after the arrangement with Rangers ends.

His statement on the Rangers website after joining the Ibrox club has outraged Hibs fans. It was a masterpiece of tactless posturing. Included were comments such as “this is my dream move”.

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He claimed he had wanted the sign for Rangers since playing against them at Ibrox in only his second match for Hibs. He described the Ibrox supporters as “the best fans in the world”. The entire statement was a lesson in how to torpedo a relationship with a club and set of fans in just 
seven paragraphs.

While club media teams are often quick to help new signings say the right things there was no appetite on the part of Ross to use this as mitigation. “I think the responsibility for the comments is his,” said the Hibs manager. “I don’t think they are anyone else’s. They’re out and it’s his choice to use those words and I think he knew fine what he was doing with them. Whether that’s helped him ingratiate himself with the club he’s at and alienate himself from his parent club, the consequences will be felt by him.

“You can choose your own words and you have to think about the potential outcome of these words,” he continued. “Undoubtedly he has made it more difficult to ingratiate himself back with the Hibs supporters should he come back into the club. There are a lot of things to happen between now and then before we need to worry about that being a problem. I think they (his words) were poorly judged from his perspective,” Ross added. “Players will choose their own words and believe they’re right in what they’re saying.

“I think when you’re contracted to another club beyond the summer and go on loan to another club, you have to be respectful of both clubs. He’s a young man, you make plenty of mistakes when you’re young so he’ll learn from that one.”

It is sure to be an awkward encounter if Kamberi runs into Ross, or anyone associated with the Easter Road club, when Hibs travel to face Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow. The Hibs manager will not go out of his way to seek him out. “I’ll have a lot on my plate and a lot on my mind without worrying about that,” he said.

Kamberi has scored 29 goals in two years at Hibs and was a popular figure among the fans. As recently as last month Ross revealed the player had rejected interest from Polish club Lech Poznan and wanted to remain at Hibs.

Whether he learns from the experience or not, it’s now impossible to see how Kamberi can resuscitate his career at Easter Road, with even Ross pointing out that it will be “challenging” for him to return. The manager stressed how the player’s own words clearly illustrate he has little intention of playing for the club again. He also revealed Kamberi had not been in touch to apologise or at least offer some sort of explanation.

“He’s contracted for another year beyond the summer, it’s difficult to predict what will happen beyond the end of this loan spell,” said Ross. “I’d imagine by his comments he would hope he doesn’t. At the moment he does in terms of his contract.

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“For the moment I can put it to one side because he’s not my player for the next four or five months. The ones here are the focus on my attention and I won’t really give him too much thought until when I need to.”

The disrespect shown by Kamberi towards his current employers has added to the strained relationship existing between Hibs and Rangers in recent times. The last fixture between the teams saw tempers overheat on the sidelines.

Hibs assistant manager John Potter and Rangers technical coach Tom Culshaw face misconduct charges at a hearing on Thursday at Hampden. The incident followed Ryan Porteous’ poor challenge on Borna Barisic when Hibs lost 3-0 to Rangers before Christmas. Staff on the opposing benches clashed and red cards were shown to Potter and Culshaw. Ross complained the short flare-up has been allowed to “drag on”. He does not expect there to be any lingering ill-feeling tomorrow.

“I take pride in how we conduct ourselves and I think we let ourselves down a little bit and we spoke about it,” said the Hibs manager. “It’s not as if it’s a consistent problem for us, it happens (sometimes) in the heat of games.”

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