HIBERNIAN MANAGER Jack Ross understands how Hearts could have let Josh Doig slip through their grasp after confessing he got it wrong on St Johnstone cup winner Liam Gordon.
Ross, who joked about being released by Hearts himself, was still a youth coach at Tynecastle when Gordon’s future at the club was a topic for discussion. Deemed not good enough for the Jambos, the 25-year-old is now a mainstay in the defence that spurred Hibs’ weekend opponents on to last weekend’s Betfred Cup triumph.
Despite Darren McGregor this week claiming that releasing Doig should be seen as Hearts’ ‘shame’, Ross believes it is just another example of the difficult decisions in football that often go awry.
“Hearts let good people go sometimes,” quipped Ross in reference to him being freed from the Tynecastle backroom staff in 2015. “No, the one thing I would say is I have been in a position where I have had to make decisions on young players.
“I probably shouldn’t say this because it makes me look like I don’t know what I am talking about, but Liam Gordon was part of my young group at Hearts.
“I don’t think we thought he’d progress to play with Hearts and yet he’s been terrific for St Johnstone this season, and deservedly playing in the Premiership every single week and has just won a League Cup.
“It happens all the time, we have to make judgements on players at certain ages.
“The one thing people are continually searching for is what you base that decision on, how do you get it right? And the truth is there is no magic formula, you are going to get it wrong.
“Sometimes players develop at different stages. Derek McInnes has spoken about Lawrence Shankland, for example. Lawrence was on loan for me at St Mirren when Derek had him at Aberdeen and he wasn’t doing there what he’s doing now.
“I don’t get too uptight about that because I understand it – I was released, probably rightly so, when I was younger.
“So, it happens and it happens at clubs up and down the country. But with it being Hearts and Hibs I can understand why it [Doig] was more high-profile.”
Meanwhile, Ross, who reported the club is no further forward in contract talks with Ofir Marciano and Jackson Irvine, has backed Aberdeen counterpart Derek McInnes’s calls for a ‘summit’ with match officials in the wake of a spate of flashpoints.
Ross has admitted he has allowed his anger and frustration to colour his approach to referees in the midst of battle, but believes an acceptance from whistlers of the emotions at play would help take the heat out of disputes.
“In normal circumstances, it is something that would be more than worthwhile,” he said of suggestions of a repeat of the 2019 get-together between managers and referees.
“As with anything, the longer you go without having dialogue between stakeholders, the more potential there is for a disconnect between them in all aspects of the game.
“There are some officials who do communicate better but, equally, there are times where we as managers don’t communicate in the most appropriate manner.
“But I think the more opportunity you have to express frustrations or concerns, or explain your own behaviour or your actions, the better. So, I think what Derek said is absolutely right in terms of opportunity for dialogue.”