Jack Ross says that his showpiece event experience at Sunderland has made him ‘calmer’ and ‘balanced’ ahead of Hibs’ Hampden showdown with Edinburgh rivals Hearts.
The Hibees have been flying in the Premiership this season, losing just twice in 12 games so far. They now head into a massive derby with Hearts on Saturday in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
At Sunderland, Ross was given a taste of similar showpiece events. He contested the EFL Trophy and League One play-off finals whilst at the Black Cats, unfortunately suffering defeat in both.
It was two tough learning curves for the current Hibs boss but it’s something he has learned from. Ross has explained what he’s picked up from the Sunderland experiences.
“You don’t want to be on the losing side of it, because it’s sore,” Ross detailed. “I think every time you experience it as a manager you feel better prepared for the next occasion you are involved in.
“I’m fortunate that it wasn’t all that long ago I was at Wembley twice. Now to get the opportunity to lead a team at Hampden is fantastic for me personally and I want to be successful in that challenge.
“Every time you feel calmer, more balanced, as you approach it. That gives you clarity of thought heading into the game.”
Looking ahead to the Scottish Cup match with the Jambos, Ross believes big-game experience within the ranks could be a key factor. He still has 2016 Scottish Cup winners Paul Hanlon, David Gray, Darren McGregor, Lewis Stevenson and Martin Boyle to call upon this Saturday.
“I think anytime you go into a game of significance and importance, having people who have been through that experience is vital,” said Ross. “I’ve had players that have played in pressure matches.
“Joe Newell has played in play-off matches at Wembley and they are big occasions. Kyle Magennis has played in a relegation play-off for St Mirren and these are all challenging.
“But the more you have in your group that have experienced that, and more importantly those who have had success, is vital. We have that group who were successful in 2016 and those I’ve also mentioned.
“It does matter. It’s nice to have at my disposal.”