Jack Ross sounds irked by Celtic speculation after Doig and Nisbet links

By David Walton

May 25, 2021

Hibernian manager Jack Ross sounded frustrated by the transfer speculation surrounding his players, with Celtic linked to two of them.

In the week leading up to last weekend’s Scottish Cup final, the likes of Josh Doig and Kevin Nisbet were linked with moves away. Celtic were reportedly keen on meeting Hibs’ £3million valuation of Euro 202-bound Nisbet [Scottish Sun]. Meanwhile, Celtic-linked Doig was also in the news again as he was speculated as being in talks about a £4m move to Watford [Watford Observer].

In the end, Hibs would produce a woeful display as they lost the cup final 1-0 to St Johnstone. Doig was beaten in the air for the winning goal whilst Nisbet was mostly anonymous. However, all-round it was a horrible team performance.

And it appears the speculation has frustrated Hibs manager Ross. He also stated that no player has informed him he wants to leave the Easter Road side as he let his anger seep through.

“Some headlines I thought were poor”

As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Ross said: “There were some headlines last week that I thought were poor in the lead-up to the final about the number of players that were supposedly departing. There was not one single player in the dressing room on Saturday who has given me an indication this will be their final game.

“There will be plenty of speculation, I am sure there will be some concrete interest. If you are asking me to be in direct control of it, then I want to lose none of them. However, there will be other factors that will come in to play. We have got a squad that has delivered something that Hibs haven’t had often enough in terms of league position. I want to keep them together. If we don’t? I want to solve the puzzle again. We will see what the next days and weeks bring.

“I think we need to (strengthen) if we want to continue to have prolonged success as a club. It is something this club haven’t done regularly enough. It has had moments, but it hasn’t had periods of sustained success in terms of league positions and being in finals and winning silverware.”

Jack Ross can’t pin any blame on speculation linking players to Celtic or anyone else

Hibs should look at their own mentality before pinning any blame on headlines in the build-up to the cup final. The prospect of interested parties should’ve spurred their players on to perform at Hampden. Instead, they produced meek displays that didn’t speak volumes of their bottle.

After all, look at how Ali McCann performed for St Johnstone. Celtic have been consistently linked with him throughout the season. The prospect of thousands of eyes being on him at Hampden didn’t stop him from strolling the game.

I’ve never understood how speculation can throw a player off his game either. Perhaps if he was actually in talks over a move and his mind had been taken off giving 100% in training in the build-up. However, when it comes to a Scottish Cup final, extra motivation shouldn’t be required. The prize of success should be enough to keep the players 100% focused.

Hibernian manager Jack Ross (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

That wasn’t the case with Hibs. They disappointed massively, and that says more about how they approached the game than any stories in the papers ahead of the contest. It’s not as if the likes of Nisbet and Doig woke up on the day of the game with 10 missed calls from Celtic and Watford.

As for Hibs’ determination to hold onto their squad, fair play to them. That’s exactly what they should be targeting after a campaign that’s seen them end the year in 3rd place, qualifying for Europe, and with a Scottish Cup final spot to their name.

But as is always the case, if the money is right, Celtic can nab whoever they want from Easter Road. It remains to be seen if we make our moves.

In other news, Celtic-linked Aaron Boupendza has reportedly been the subject of a £7.9m bid.