Hibs boss criticises SPFL over Celtic fixture change and punishment meted out to rival clubs

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Hibs head coach Jack Ross has rounded on the SPFL over their actions this week, and claimed the governing body has made a rod for its own back over the controversial fixture change enforced on his club.

Ross admits he is also ‘disheartened’ by the decision to punish St Mirren and Kilmarnock with 3-0 defeats for breaching Covid-19 social distancing protocols, calling it a ‘sad day’ for Scottish football.

A usually collected Ross was clearly irked by what has gone behind the scenes, particularly when it affects his own players.

Hibs head coach Jack Ross | Hibs news
Hibs face Motherwell today

Hibs are still angry that two objections to a fixture change from the original January 9 trip to Celtic were dismissed.

The SPFL argued that they would always favour the home side in any disputes, with the clash switched to January 11.

Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster claimed the Leith outfit were not even told about the final ruling, while Ross believes that the decision has now set a precedent for clubs to potentially exploit in future.

He said: “We’ll need to see how it pans out but every club in the league now knows they are available to do that. That would be interesting.

“It’s not something I would plan to do, but sometimes 48 hours can make a difference.

“We’ll see. The clubs now know this is alright so it might be something to address further down the line.

“It’s opened up something that will be on board for the future.  

“I don’t think it’s been as easy to request (in the past) and for the SPFL to be so accommodating but it won’t impact our ability when the game comes around.

“I don’t have any issue with Celtic, every club is within their rights to ask for a change for whatever reason.

“But it’s up to the governing body and I thought it was a fairly unusual decision made in a very quick way.

“When you are asked your opinion and you give your reasons, you will always feel aggrieved when that opinion is dismissed so easily.

“There was very little time for us to respond to it.”

Ross’ disappointment with the SPFL does not end there.

The six points handed to Motherwell, Hibs’ opponents at Fir Park today, for postponed matches against Kilmarnock and the Buddies could have a significant impact on the push for the European places at the end of the season.

Hibs, who are currently in fourth place, had been 11 points clear of Motherwell, but it could be as little as two if the Steelmen win this afternoon.

Hamilton have also benefited from three points after a clash with St Mirren was called off due to Covid-19 issues.

While Ross has pointed out that he does not harbour any resentment towards both Motherwell and Hamilton, he feels the SPFL went over the top with the punishment meted out.

He added: “I just think it’s a really sad day for us, genuinely on Thursday I was astonished when I heard the news.

“I was actually quite disheartened by it. I’m a bit of a football romantic that way. 

“I never thought I would watch Scottish football hand to 3-0 victories for issues like this. 

“I don’t think anyone has been looking to gain an advantage or cut corners. This whole 10, 11 months has been a learning process for everyone.

“I’m not sure how the three-nils come in as well, I’m not sure who decides that. 

“I’m not sure who decides who wins by three goals in the Premiership, how often that happens. 

“It’s almost like computer game stuff, just give them a 3-0 win. 

“Its nothing to do with the clubs involved, it does not affect me in any way these results but I don’t think it was nice for Scottish football. 

“I appreciate there has to be some actions taken but it certainly would not be my choice of punishment.”