JACK ROSS has hinted that he is preparing for life after Flo Kamberi despite the striker returning to training with Hibs.
Kamberi, 25, spent the second half of last season on loan at Rangers and sparked fury among the Easter Road faithful by describing Gers supporters as the ‘best fans in the world’.
He also suggested that he had been eyeing up a switch to Ibrox ever since his first appearance there for Hibs.
Ross, speaking in February, made it clear what he thought of those comments by responding: ‘He has chosen his words . . . it’s made it much more challenging [for him to return to Hibs]’.
Kamberi remains contracted to the capital club until 2021 but appears to have no future in Leith, albeit Ross stopped short of explicitly stating that he would never play again.
Instead, he confirmed all parties were aiming for a ‘solution that suits everybody’ and pointedly emphasised that he was ‘planning around the players who will absolutely be here’.
Hibs are more than willing to sell for a respectable price and Kamberi is reportedly attracting interest from the likes of Hull City and Lech Poznan, while Rangers are still interested.
Ross said: “He [Kamberi] has trained with us since day one.
“There is continued dialogue to try and find a solution which suits both parties but at the moment he is training with the group.
“I don’t think I would ever be so blunt as that [saying he won’t play for Hibs again] because, from experience, football can move and shift in different ways. But at the moment I’m planning around the players who will absolutely be here for the opening game.
“That’s especially true as we start to move ever closer, hopefully, to friendly matches.
“I don’t think any challenges would necessarily just be attributed to [his comments].
“You need to make sure you have a group who are fully involved in what you are trying to do at the club.
“If you don’t have that, then you have to find a solution that suits everybody. We are working towards that at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Ross has told Sky Sports News that he hopes that supporters will be allowed to attend the Hibees’ re-arranged Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts.
A date has yet to be confirmed for the Hampden showdown against their city foes, albeit Ross says it MUST happen before the respective clubs enter the 2020/21 edition of the competition next January.
Uncertainty abounds regarding when the Scottish Government will give the green light for any amount of spectators to attend sporting events amid the Covid-19 crisis.
And Ross continued: “Selfishly – and I think all managers involved would say so – we’d like it to be played when we know supporters can return to the stadium because they are showcase events.
“Both semi-finals are terrific fixtures and would benefit from being played in front of a crowd but of course there are a lot of ifs, buts and maybes involved in that.
“It’s only two fixtures to fit in – if we get to the final. It’s not too many to squeeze in and it has to be before the end of the year.”
While the culmination of the competition will take place in unprecedented circumstances, Ross is adamant the excitement of an Edinburgh derby and potential Scottish Cup final will remain thrilling.
He added: “It was a huge fixture in the remainder of our season that was curtailed – and that won’t change.
“Once we get into the new season, we know that we have a strange anomaly of having last year’s semi-final to play, but it’s such a big game and big prize that it will still be exciting. You can’t downplay that.”