Hibernian head coach Jack Ross is adamant that Scotland’s qualification for Euro 2020 can benefit his team, namely because at least three of his players will be desperate to be involved in next summer’s tournament.
Defenders Ryan Porteous, Paul Hanlon and Paul McGinn were all part of last month’s squad but were overlooked for the current get together as the national team beat Serbia in Thursday’s nail-biting play-off final.
Porteous is currently back with the Scotland Under-21s and Ross is in no doubt that the trio will be keen to make sure they are in Steve Clarke’s thoughts at the end of the season.
Ross, whose side take on Dundee in tomorrow’s Betfred Cup Group B top of the table clash, said: “It’s something they will use themselves.
“They’ve had a taste and what they mustn’t do now is believe it is not a possibility.
“I have spoken about us as a club and a team this season, setting targets that are achievable.
“If I was trying to encourage a player who had never been near Steve’s squad to use that as a carrot I don’t think you’d get the buy-in.
“But the good thing with the two Pauls and Ryan is they have been there.
“Undoubtedly Steve’s group has made up the bulk of what the squad has achieved and they will be in pole position.
“But there will be opportunities that arise and the only way you can make sure you are in a position to take them is by playing consistently well at club level.
“So it’s something the players will use but equally it’s something I will use when I have individual discussions with them.
“And I would be delighted if they saw that as a potential goal for them.
“And if they don’t achieve it hopefully that will be down to the strength of the other options Steve has as opposed to them falling short through their own performance levels.”
Sunday’s televised match marks exactly a year since Ross took on the reins at Easter Road and the former Sunderland and St Mirren manager admits he is happy with the progress Hibs are making.
Ross, however, concedes he has also set himself unrealistic targets.
He added: “I will probably never be satisfied, I will continually seek perfection and I will probably never get it.
“I can be crabbit sometimes after training if I don’t feel we’re at the levels I think we need to be at.
“The first part of it is creating a mentality where everybody believes that they are involved in the targets you’ve set and the second part is what I see on a daily basis.
“There are loads of things I think we have improved on and we are shifting the mentality as well.
“If you want to make it really simple, I think we were eighth in the league when we came in and up until last weekend we were third so that in itself suggests progress.”