HIBERNIAN midfielder Stephen McGinn reckons Jack Ross could be a Scotland manager of the future.
The Easter Road gaffer has made no secret of his desire to ascend to the top job at Hampden one day, admitting in a recent interview with The Scotsman that – ‘speaking with his heart’ – it would represent the pinnacle of his career.
McGinn, 31, knows Ross’ qualities better than most, having been made captain at St Mirren by the highly-rated coach before officially linking up with him again at Hibs last week, signing a one-year deal.
And he is adamant that the sky is the limit for Ross, who has guided the capital club to third spot in the opening weeks of the Premiership season – pointing out that even his ill-fated stint at Sunderland was far from a disaster.
McGinn said: “I’m sure he can go as high as he wants. He’s always said his dream job is the Scotland job – and, having worked with him, you say ‘why not?’
“I’m biased because I’ve worked with him, but the [Sunderland til’ I Die] documentary was good because it was privy to some of the conversations.
“And if you speak to the Sunderland players who worked with him, they’ll speak very highly of him. Genuinely, they were so close to promotion. It wasn’t like they kicked about mid-table.
“When he got sacked they were top-four. It’s not like they had a disastrous run of five, six, seven losses in a row. I think that timing hurt him. That didn’t feel just.
“But that’s been Hibs’ gain and we’ve had the benefits of having him up here.”
McGinn, speaking to GoRadio, also heaped praise on his younger brother Paul, who has emerged as one of Hibs’ most consistent performers in recent weeks despite a lukewarm reaction to his signing from some on social media in January.
Stephen, putting sibling loyalty aside, dismissed any snipers and was certain Paul would thrive. Indeed, he was astonished when St Mirren allowed him to leave.
He continued: “You know what social media is like. There can be a negative reaction to everything. But we were stunned as a dressing room when he was allowed to leave last January. We were thinking of him as one of our main players.
“Taking away the fact he is my brother, just speaking as someone who has been his teammate – he has been playing at this level for 18 months and I’ve not been surprised to see him make the jump to Hibs and see how well he has done.”
After being named on the bench for Hibs’ fractious 2-2 draw against Rangers on Sunday, McGinn is pushing for a full debut when the capital club travel to Celtic Park this weekend.
And while the champions will be firm favourites to take the points, he says Ross’ demands will not drop.
McGinn added: “We want to be up there, in that reckoning. We know how hard going to Celtic will be – but the manager is very insistent that we don’t let our standards drop and think ‘we can lose this one.’”