JACK ROSS has promised not to dip into the transfer market until all of Hibernian’s current squad have been repaid.
The Easter Road outfit confirmed on Friday that ‘most’ staff have been furloughed amid the Scottish football shut-down.
A salary deferral scheme has also been agreed, including first-team stars temporarily surrendering between 20 and 50 percent of their pay-packet during the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “From a personal point of view as the manager, I was quite clear that I wanted to protect the players and squad that we have in place at the moment and show gratitude for the sacrifices they are making for us.
“When we eventually return to playing, we will ensure they are all looked after before we then add more players.
“We have a number of players still under contract anyway but, as the manager, it’s important that I recognise all the players who have bought into this.
“The club deserves a lot of credit, as do the players, because their willingness to buy into what we are trying to do and defer their salaries for a significant period of time. It will hopefully help the club get through this difficult period.”
Ross has lavished particular praise on club captain David Gray, who acted on behalf of the playing squad during talks with chief executive Leeann Dempster and owner Ron Gordon last weekend.
As well as being a vastly experienced professional, Gray is also on the nine-man management committee of the players’ union, PFA Scotland, and Ross believes his influence was pivotal to an amicable agreement being struck.
Ross continued: “We communicated with David when we felt it was the right time and it was clear that we would not be returning to playing in the near future.
“That meant we had to look clearly at what we wanted to do.
“We wanted to bridge that gap between the board, the players and my role as manager, and then pass that on to David on behalf of the players.
“At that stage, I felt very fortunate to have someone as sensible as David as club captain.
“It’s a really good group of boys and we had a conference call with them and this was put to them and, quite quickly, they agreed to what was suggested.”
Meanwhile, Ross has described Hibs’ season ticket sales as ‘remarkable’ after supporters snapped up more than 2000 seats for next term, despite the ongoing uncertainty which has paralysed Scottish football.
The former Sunderland and St Mirren boss told Sky Sports News: “There is so much uncertainty regarding when we will be able to start next season.
“So it’s a remarkable show of commitment and loyalty from supporters, many of whom will be facing uncertain financial situations themselves.
“It was vital that, as a club, we showed that we were prepared to make sacrifices as well to ensure the future of the football club is safe.”