Jack Ross opens up on "injustice" of not being able to tackle Hibernian vs Celtic final
Former Hibernian manager Jack Ross has been discussing his controversial sacking before the Premier Sports Cup finla with Celtic last month.
Ross looked primed to take Hibs into the Hampden battle against Ange Postecoglou’s Hoops at the end of 2021. However, a miserable run of 2 wins in 10 games saw Hibs owner Ron Gordon pull the plug. All of a sudden it was David Gray in temporary charge for the showpiece occasion.
Celtic would of course go on to win the game 2-1 thanks to a Kyogo Furuhashi brace. The result secured Postecoglou his first trophy as Hoops boss on a day to remember for the club.
But for Ross, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Speaking to the Scottish Sun, he opened up on how he tried to help Hibs on cup final day regardless but stated it was too sore to watch live:
“To lose my job in the build up to a cup final, I found that extremely hard to take, to be perfectly honest. I’m not ashamed to say that the day itself, when the boys were playing against Celtic at Hampden, was one of the toughest days I’ve ever had in my career. I actually spent a lot of that week talking to Davie and giving him as much help and advice as I possibly could, which is quite peculiar, when you think about it.
“I did not want to stand on his toes, but he wanted my help and I was never going to say no. I also sent a text to Paul Hanlon on the morning of the game with a message to put on the players’ group chat. I was close to a lot of the boys and really, really wanted them to do well. But I can’t lie, it was tough. When it came to the actual game I couldn’t bring myself to even watch it. It was too raw.
“At that stage I still felt sore at what had happened and it’s fair to say there were certain people within the club I wasn’t enamoured with. They were getting to be involved in a big game and yet I was in the house. Injustice.”
Jack Ross sacking before Celtic final came as a shock
7 defeats in 9 games tells you something wasn’t right at Easter Road before Jack got the chop. With Shaun Maloney coming in and winning 2 of his first 3, Hibs will tell you that their decision has been vindicated even at this early stage.
Whilst we all want Shaun to do well of course, you couldn’t help but feel for Ross at the time. A manager who has had plenty of ups and downs in his managerial career already with spells at Alloa, St Mirren, Sunderland, and Hibs.
You can’t forget what Ross actually managed to do there. He took Hibs to the League Cup semi-finals last season and reached the Scottish Cup final too. Getting to yet another final only to be sacked beforehand? It certainly appeared cruel at face value.
Ross also managed to lead Hibs to their highest finish in 16 years last term when he banked 3rd spot. He had built up enough credit in the bank to at least take charge of the cup final. Especially considering it was randomly given to Gray instead, who must’ve been feeling a shred of embarrassment.
In the end, it likely wouldn’t have mattered who was in charge of course. Kyogo was on absolute fire that day and it didn’t really matter what Hibs’ game-plan was, the Japanese international was always going to make his mark.
Hopefully Ross gets himself back into management soon of course. It didn’t end well for him at Easter Road, but there’s clearly a talented boss in there.