JACK ROSS will forever thank Alloa Athletic for their role in his ‘sliding doors’ moment, confessing his managerial career may never have got off the ground had it not been for the faith of the part-timers.
However, he is determined his gratitude will not be allowed to influence his first meeting with his old club on Tuesday night after urging Hibernian to be ‘ruthless and relentless’ in their pursuit of a Betfred Cup semi-final berth.
Ross admits his dreams of becoming a manager hung in the balance after he left his coaching role at Hearts in 2015.
However, Alloa chairman Mike Mulraney took a chance on the former Dumbarton assistant and ensured thoughts of a job outside football could be banished.
“Over lockdown and since then, I’ve done quite a few webinars and presentations,” he said, “and I speak about key moments in my managerial career a lot – and that was one of them.
“Whether you call it sliding doors or key moments, I was at a stage in my life and my career where I had to decide whether I was staying in or coming out of football.
“I always wanted to be a manager, and believed I could be a manager, but I was lucky that Mike had faith in me to give me the opportunity in the first place and support me as much as he did.
“If he hadn’t done that for me then I don’t know – I can’t say if or where I would have been a manager.
“I’ve got a lot of time for the club and the people at the club, and when I go over to watch games I get made to feel incredibly welcome.
“But we’re determined to go and win the game. It’s huge for us, it’s a really, really big game for us in our season, in terms of continuing this progression that we’re making and the confidence we’re building in the group, and where we want to get to as a club.
“It means a lot to me, personally, going back to Alloa but, professionally, I want us to be as ruthless and relentless as we’ve been in previous games.”
Alloa are seeking to do the double over Edinburgh’s big two after shocking Hearts in the previous round.
For Hibs, though, thoughts of Hearts may also play a part following the bitter disappointment of their Scottish Cup semi-final loss to their rivals in October.
“The players have experienced the soreness of it but I don’t think it’s put them off,” added Ross.
“They want to get into semi-finals again to give themselves a chance of achieving that emotion you get from being successful.”