Jack Ross believes Sunday’s win over Rangers will propel the Hibees forward through a strenuous run of fixtures.
Our manager has seen a real bounce in training following the weekend’s success and hopes that’ll continue into the game against Ross County.
“When you win a game and you play well within it, it means that when you return to work as we did on the Monday morning there is palpable excitement and optimism around the group.
“There is always honesty about them and the recognition of when they play well and when they don’t play well. So, they understand that they won the game on Sunday because they did all aspects of the game very well. It is good for us to go into this period that lies ahead in that frame of mind, and it gives the group a reminder that they are a good squad – as long as they keep understanding and remembering why that is the case.”
During the upcoming period, Hibernian will play 12 matches in the space of 41 days.
Ross believes that his squad can manage the period and that various departments of the club are also ready.
“The enforced break we had allowed us to look ahead to this period, if you like, albeit with an extra game thrown in because of our progress to the cup final.
“We used it productively in terms of what we got into the players on the training pitch, so it was our last opportunity if you like before January to get a heavy load into them.
“We feel as if we have done that, and we are really pleased in that regard. From a scheduling point of view, we fairly organise anyway, and the players know in advance of what they are doing. We have just had to look at that sensibly.
“The medical performance department’s importance becomes even greater because there is going to be a reliance upon the players to ensure that they get them ready in the best possible way. I think we have prepared well for it; we have a really good robust department in that regard, we will be as good as we can be through that period.”
With so many games in a short space of time, there are increased fears of injuries hitting the squad. This also means that there is a reduced amount of training between games.
“It is not only about fatigue – the players are pretty robust in that regard, and they are fit. What you must take into account are knocks, kicks, and soreness.
“The demands of the game at the top level are big so that happens and often it is the matchday plus two that is the sorest for players. A lot of the time for us, that matchday plus two is turning into the last day before a game as well.
“At Sunderland, I had a 63-game season, so I am used to it as a manager. It does limit, very much limit, the time you are on the training pitch, and from a tactical point of view you have to adjust because you probably do a lot more inside and with the players on a screen than you can do on the grass.”
Earlier in the season, Jack Ross’ side secured a comfortable 3-0 victory over Ross County. Since then, however, County have improved, and Jack Ross is expecting a tougher challenge this time around.
“I think the longer a manager gets to work with a group, the more they progress. Malky (Mackay) is an experienced and very good manager, he has proven that through his career. We played them early season and I think they have improved since then; the results have shown that.
“They will be frustrated with the period of inactivity they have had, and they will look to respond in the way that we did coming out of that (semi-final) on Sunday. For us, we need to replicate how we played on Sunday. We are a good team, and we will win games in this league. We want to do that as soon as possible and get back to climbing the table.
“The period of inactivity has meant that we have dropped places, albeit not as far as we could have done. We have a chance – quickly if you like – to go back up the table if we start winning games.”