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Jack Ross’ message from Hibs owner Ron Gordon as Dundee United boss eyes silverware

Driven: Ross
Driven: Ross

Jack Ross has revealed that Hibs owner Ron Gordon congratulated him following his appointment as Dundee United boss.

Ross, 46, has dismissed suggestions of lingering animosity with the capital club following his dismissal last December — just 10 days prior to the Premier Sports Cup final against Celtic.

It was a decision Ross vehemently disagreed with, coming mere months after he had led the Hibees to a third-place finish in the Premiership.

The Easter Road outfit subsequently lost 2-1 to the Hoops at Hampden and saw out a miserable bottom-six campaign under Shaun Maloney.

But rather than indulge in I told you so — or express a desire to prove Hibs wrong next season — Ross is adamant there are no hard feelings.

Big call: Ron Gordon sacked Jack Ross last December.

“It is funny when you leave clubs; there are a lot of things that float about,” said Ross. “People throw things out there and they become ‘fact’ or ‘reality’. A lot of which there is no truth in.

“I left Hibs and, although I didn’t agree with it, I left on good terms.

“I have had messages from the chief executive (Ben Kensell) and owner (Ron Gordon) since I took this job.

“That gives you an indication of where that relationship still lies. I wish no ill will on the club. It was a brilliant club to manage.

“There is certainly no feeling of bitterness or a desire to prove them wrong. I am too long in the tooth for that.”

Introspection

Indeed, Ross sought to reflect and recharge following the painful dismissal, while working for the Scottish FA as part of their coach education courses.

“It was sore at first because of the timing of it and what was ahead in the weeks after (Premier Sports Cup final),” added Ross.

“But you move on from it and reflect. If you had got everything right, then your position would never be under threat.

“I had to think: would I have done anything differently? Behaved differently? Changed anything? Hopefully that makes you better.

The former Sunderland and St Mirren manager has now bossed five clubs in seven years.

Dundee United, meanwhile, are on their third permanent manager since Robbie Neilson left the club for Hearts in 2020.

Suffice to say, a period of stability and consistency would suit both parties.

However, Ross knows better that to make any grand predictions regarding longevity.

“You become more hardened to the fact that it’s difficult to think too far ahead,” he acknowledged. “Football management has become so transient.

“Managers come under pressure very quickly now. I’m not consumed by longevity in a job.

“It’s about controlling the controllables; shape what you want to do and keep improving players and staff. If you do that, then you give yourself a chance to succeed.”

Silverware aim

And what would success look like at Dundee United?

The Tangerines secured fourth place in the Premiership last term, securing European qualification for the first time in a decade.

It sets a lofty benchmark ahead of the coming campaign, albeit the somewhat stodgy football on show last term — scoring 37 times in 38 league matches — does provide ample room for stylistic improvement.

Ross will also be seeking to remedy disappointing cup runs under Tam Courts.

Not treading water: Ross.

“I don’t like treading water,” added Ross. “If I get to the point in football management where I’m just bobbing along, I would stop and do something else.

“The biggest thing about this job was the potential to improve and get better.

“The challenge is to deliver a consistent period of being in that (high) area of the table and go deep into cup competitions, giving ourselves a chance to win them.

“There are a number of clubs who will feel the same — but I do think that Dundee United has the ability to gatecrash that group.

“I grew up as an ’80s football kid and my earliest memories were of a time when this club was hugely successful. So my association with Dundee United has always been as a big club and achieving success.

“If that puts more pressure on me, then so be it. I’ve had to deal with that at other clubs. I’m used to it.”

Stats man

On the challenge of bringing more attacking football to Tannadice, he added: “I feel like I have had front-foot teams.

“That (criticism) probably irked me a little bit at Hibs. I know, for example, that in over 50% of our games, Hibs scored two or more goals. That’s not bad.

“It is very easy for a manager to make false or lazy promises. You have produce a team that wins, ideally in the right way. But it is about using what you have at your disposal.”

Jack Ross reveals ‘open’ Tony Asghar talks as Dundee United boss insists he’ll be his own man

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