Jack Ross recalls how Hibs cult heroes Franck Sauzee and Russell Latapy destroyed him as a player in Scottish Cup

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Hibernian manager Jack Ross has recalled how his current employers inflicted one of his worst experiences as a player in the Scottish Cup.

The Leith side begin their involvement in this season’s competition in tomorrow’s televised trip to runaway Championship leaders Dundee United.

Some 19 years earlier, Ross had grand designs on registering the biggest win of his early career at then second tier side Clyde, aided by hopes the top-flight winter shutdown would have left Hibs bereft of match sharpness.

However, a Hibs team containing the likes of cult heroes Franck Sauzee, Russell Latapy and Mixu Paatelainen swept to an emphatic 6-1 victory.

“For me, that was a learning experience,” said Ross. 

“We went there rather naively, as a Clyde team in good league form, thinking that Hibs had been away for a few weeks, they would have enjoyed their three weeks and not really trained properly.

“It couldn’t have been any further from the truth. I think it was about six-nil after an hour, an absolute doing.

“It was one of the worst experiences of my career.

“Hibs had the likes of Paatelainen, Sauzee and Russell Latapy playing.

“It was a short, sharp reminder to me, as a young player, that these players are good. They’re playing at that club for a reason.

“Sometimes you don’t quite appreciate that until you’re up against them.”

Ring-rusty

Since tomorrow’s tie is expected to be a close encounter against a team regarded as Championship title-winners in-waiting, the three-week league interlude could be a factor.

However, Ross has tried to guard against ring-rust setting in, having played Motherwell in a bounce match on Tuesday and Dutch side Willem II during their recent training camp in Spain.

Ross added: “We spoke about it as a club because Hibs had a previous experience of coming back from the break and being knocked out of the cup.

“I think Motherwell and other Premiership clubs have also come back from their break and struggled in the cup.

“So there are no guarantees but you just try to cover as many bases as you can.

“So we had that match in Spain.

“Then we had a bounce match against Motherwell against Tuesday. It allowed us to get game minutes.

“It was great for (Motherwell manager) Stephen Robinson and I, we spoke about it after the game.

“It was competitive, in a good way. But for both sets of players they also both got out of it, physically, what they would get out of a game.”

Shankland

Keeping 25-goal Scotland international forward Lawrence Shankland quiet tomorrow is, naturally, among Ross and his team’s priorities at Tannadice.

However, with United 17 points clear at the Championship summit, Ross appreciates that there is quality throughout their opponent’s team.

He added: “They have players mixed throughout the squad who have played in the Premiership and players who are similar to Lawrence, like Paul McMullan.

“Like Lawrence, he has flirted with that top league but then been about the Championship and has been looking for that consistency of form. 

“So we know that they have that mix within their group and guys who have experience of the top league and would like to get back there. 

“They are a good squad. It is not just a good team, it is a good squad. 

We know it is arguably one of the toughest teams we could have got.”

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