Jack Ross pinpoints a huge benefit for Hibs - but mixed news on fitness front
It may not have felt like it as he was left to coax a threadbare squad through the recent Betfred Cup matches, but Steve Clarke’s decision to commandeer so many Hibs players for Scotland duty may turn out to be a huge bonus for Easter Road manager Jack Ross.
Having been given a taste for international honours, with Paul Hanlon emerging from the pack earn his first cap, he now has a dressing -room full of highly incentivised players as they look to use the upcoming league and cup games to prove that they are worthy of further involvement when the Scotland squad assembles again, in just a few weeks.
“Every single one of the Scottish ones, and the ones who were away with other countries as well, have come back with a spring in their step,” said Ross, thrilled to see Alex Gogic also earn his first caps for Cyprus. “I think it has been a huge confidence boost for them all and it is good for us as a club and all of those players individually and I think we’ll see the benefits over the coming weeks as well.”
Back to bread and butter
The focus has switched back to the Premiership, with Hibs away to Ross County as they look to maintain their momentum as they head into another huge month, with the Scottish Cup semi final against city rivals Hearts and big league games to squeeze in before thoughts return to Scotland’s trip to Serbia for the Euros play-off final and more Nations League action.
“They are going to have to play well to get in future squads and earn future caps but it’s brilliant that the pathway is there now for them and it’s clear,” said Ross. “I think there have maybe been times in the past when players of that ilk would have felt the pathway wasn’t there but at the moment under Steve’s management it is.”
Good and bad team news
The return of key players will bolster the squad for the trip to Dingwall and, as well as the international contingent, Joe Newell has recovered from his shoulder injury and is available for selection, although the game comes too soon for Jamie Murphy and for Josh Doig, who has to remain in precautionary self-isolation until Thursday.
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