JACK Ross admits he has had ‘a million and one’ things going round his head this week, but insists his full focus will be on steering Alloa Athletic to a historic cup win over Welsh outfit Bala Town this afternoon.
Ross was appointed as St Mirren’s new manager on Tuesday, just before taking the Wasps for training as they stepped up their preparations for their lengthy trip to North Wales.
In an unusual step, the 40-year-old will take charge of the League One side for a final time in their IRN-BRU Cup tie, but has balked at any suggestions it is an opportunity for him to leave the club on a high.
Instead, the former Clyde and Falkirk defender is adamant any emotions attached to him moving on must play second fiddle to ensuring the team he is leaving behind have another quarter-final to look forward to after last month’s narrow defeat to Celtic in the Betfred Cup.
He told Capital City Press: “I know it’s quite an easy thing to say but I’ve got into such a routine with the Alloa job and how I approach things.
“It’s not been a normal week, by any manner of means, and I’ve had a million and one things going through my head.
“But, in terms of how I’ll prepare for the game and how I’ll try to prepare the team, it’s not changed an awful lot.
“I don’t really think about it as me leaving on a high. Of course I would love to make sure I finish the job in that way.
“But the biggest thing is it’s another opportunity for the players to get to another cup quarter-final.
“They’ve been to one already this season and if we can do that in another competition then it would just continue that really positive start to the season we’ve had.”
Ross steered Alloa to 10 consecutive victories at the start of the campaign but the side have stuttered to only one win in their last five outings, albeit one of those was to Parkhead.
Given that recent record and the possible distraction of his imminent exit for St Mirren, Ross admits the break from the norm for this afternoon’s tie with Bala Town should help the players maintain their focus.
Ross added: “They are a really good group of players, in terms of ability at this level, but probably just as importantly, if not more, is their character and how they look after each other as a group.
“They’ve been a pleasure to work with and I have absolutely no doubts they’ll continue what they’ve started.
“And I have no doubts they’ll approach this game the same way they have done this season. That doesn’t guarantee anything in terms of the end result but I think they’ll be fine.
“It’s a really exciting game for the club because it’s so very different. There are a lot of unknowns about it but a lot of people associated with the club are looking forward to it.
“The fact it’s such a different game maybe helps us avoid any potential flatness, because it’s got this novelty attached to it and it’s exciting and a bit different for the players.”