Hibs boss welcomes squad budget boost but concedes he might not be around to spend it

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Hibernian head coach Jack Ross has welcomed owner Ron Gordon’s ambitious plans for the club, though he has stressed that on the field targets are already consonant with his own aspirations for the Leith side.

American businessman Gordon, who assumed control from Sir Tom Farmer last July, revealed prior to Wednesday’s AGM that he plans to double the player budget by 2023 and oversee a 100 per cent increase in the club’s turnover over the next five years.

Given the often ephemeral nature of management, Ross is also left wondering whether he will even be in charge by the time vastly superior resources will be available to the dugout incumbent.

With more money comes greater expectation and Gordon wants the Easter Road outfit to be competing in the top four of the Premiership and in both cup competitions regularly.

Hibs can realise one of those aims by beating Inverness in this evening’s Scottish Cup quarter-final tie in Edinburgh.

Ross, however, insists he will embrace the challenge of fulfilling the demands set by the Hibs chairman. 

“The pressure is all created in my head, the pressure I put on myself to do well and win matches is already there,” said the former Sunderland, St Mirren and Alloa boss.

“I don’t particularly enjoy mediocrity.

“When I came here the first thing was to get us away from the position we were in (near the bottom of the table) but then, after that, I had to ask what the target is and we have to set something. 

“I find it difficult to work having not set something in my own head that I can then share with other people at the club and that players can understand and buy into. 

“It is not always easy to do and there are no guarantees that doing everything right or having the best resources will see you do it. 

“But I do think it is good that there is an ambition to drive the club forward.”

Having a player budget just south of £10 million would appeal to most managers in Scottish football, although Ross was pragmatic when asked about the prospect of getting to spend any of it.

He added: “I’m sure the players will look at parts of the plans and wonder if they will be here and I am the same because I am in a job that is even more transient. 

“When you listen to Ron, I don’t think you can fail to buy into it because he has that kind of personality.

“You want that opportunity to be involved in something that’s going to grow. 

“I’d prefer it to being somewhere where you’re just bobbing along every day. 

“That’s the vision, that’s the plan but the proof will be in the pudding and a lot of people will be saying that today as well. 

“But it’s up to me to try and help deliver that on the pitch. I’m sure he’s putting pressure and responsibility upon others at the club to deliver other aspects.”

John Robertson’s Inverness, who are currently second in the Championship, stand in Hibs’ way of the last four of the cup.

Ross is looking forward to pitting his wits against a man he has a lot of respect for.

The pair have crossed paths in the dugout in the past and were also employed by Hearts at the same time.

Ross added: “He’s somebody that will always drop me a message or I’ll drop him one – usually when you’ve been sacked! 

“I enjoyed his company and conversation at Hearts because, although I knew him prior to that through football, those were the occasions when I had much more time to speak to him. 

“He loves his football, loves talking about football, loves talking! 

“He’s a good guy and I’m looking forward to seeing him. 

“I know he’ll be looking forward to the game but I’m looking forward to hopefully beating him as well.”

Hibs striker Jamie Gullan, meanwhile, insists he is happy to bide his time in his bid to become a regular after being recalled from his loan at Raith Rovers last month.

The 20-year-old, who has also just been given a permanent space in the first team dressing room, has made four substitutes appearances since the turn of the year.

He said: “It was good getting out for that six month period and getting two games a week. 

“But now that I’m back here I’m in a good place and loving being back around the first team. 

“I am really enjoying it at the moment but hopefully the game time will come. 

“I would be happy to get any minutes on the pitch at the moment to try and show them what I can do.”

 
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