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Jack Ross sets his sights high after landing Hibernian job

The former Sunderland boss replaces Paul Heckingbottom.

Jack Ross has returned to Scotland (Richard Sellers/PA)
Jack Ross has returned to Scotland (Richard Sellers/PA)

By Andy Newport, PA

Jack Ross has vowed to help Hibernian live up to their big gun billing in Scotland after being confirmed as the club’s new head coach.

The former Alloa, St Mirren and Sunderland boss emerged as the early front-runner to replace Paul Heckingbottom and has now agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Hibs finished third on their return to the Ladbrokes Premiership in 2017 under Neil Lennon.

But last season saw them slip to fifth after Lennon’s reign ended amid a controversial fall-out with chief executive Leeann Dempster.

Heckingbottom was brought in with four months of the campaign left but while he went unbeaten in his first 10 games in charge, this term has been a wretched watch for the Leith faithful who got their wish as the former Leeds manager was axed after taking just nine points from the first 33 on offer.

Hibs now sit eighth after caretaker boss Eddie May guided the side to a much-needed win over St Johnstone last week.

But Ross still faces an uphill task as he looks to guide his new team – who are perched just two points above the relegation play-off spot – away from trouble.

However, the former full-back is up for the challenge.

Ross – who will meet his new squad for the first time on Monday ahead of his opening game against Motherwell the following Saturday – said: “I’m proud to have been named head coach of Hibernian Football Club.

“I think we all consider Hibernian to be one of the leading clubs in Scottish football – in terms of the history and passion of the supporters. It’s up to all of us to help the squad live up to that.

“We have some talented players, underpinned by a successful academy, and I’ll do everything I can to make sure we’re able to help every player fulfil his potential.”

The signs looked good for Heckingbottom last term but his honeymoon period quickly came to an end as a list of summer recruits failed to hit the ground running.

His only league win this term came on the opening day of the campaign against St Mirren thanks to a late winner from Scott Allan and he was eventually sacked with his team sitting just two places off bottom.

But Hibs executive chairman Ron Gordon believes a bright future lies ahead with Ross – named PFA Scotland’s manager of the year after guiding St Mirren back to the top-flight in 2018 – now at the helm.

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Paul Heckingbottom was sacked by Hibernian (Ian Rutherford/PA)

He said: “We are really excited to have secured the services of Jack.

“Leeann and Graeme (Mathie) led a thorough recruitment process that unearthed some outstanding candidates but, in the end, the verdict was unanimous.

“We look forward to seeing what Jack brings to the Hibernian Training Centre and Easter Road Stadium as part of the team who will strive towards achieving our sporting goals.”

Dempster added: “Jack made a very strong impression on us during the interview process but he is someone we have obviously been aware of for some time.

“We are confident that Jack will help drive this club forward and we will do everything that we can, as a board, to support that.”

PA

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