Ross insists he's at Dundee United for long haul as he targets sustained success

·5-min read
Ross insists he's at Dundee United for long haul as he targets sustained success
Ross insists he's at Dundee United for long haul as he targets sustained success

JACK ROSS intends to be at Dundee United for the long haul by bringing sustained success to the club.

However, the 46-year-old is also fully aware that the transient nature of football management means there is little margin for error and he will be under immediate pressure at Tannadice.

Ross has had six months to reflect on what happened to him at his previous club Hibs, who sacked him in December following a run of seven league defeats in nine games.

The fact that the previous two years at Easter Road had largely been a success and he was due to lead the team out at Hampden in just over a week’s time for the Premier Sports Cup Final ultimately counted for nothing.

Now, though, Ross is refreshed and looking forward to the challenge at United, a club that finished fourth in the Premiership last season under previous boss Tam Courts to secure European football for the Tangerines for the first time in 10 years.

Ross, who has also managed at Alloa, St Mirren and Sunderland, said: “The biggest thing about this was the potential to improve and get better.

“The challenge is to deliver a consistent period of being in that area of the table and going deep into cup competitions and give ourselves a chance to win them.

“There are a number of clubs who will feel the same — that it’s the barometer for them too.

“But I do think Dundee United has the ability to gatecrash that group.

“I grew up as an 80s football kid and my earliest memories were of a time when this club was hugely successful.

“So my association with Dundee United has always been as a big club and achieving success.

“We all know there have been ups and downs over the last 40 years but I do think that United have that potential to deliver.

“If that puts more pressure on me then so be it. I’ve had to deal with that at other clubs. I’m used to it.”

Ross has signed a two-year deal with United and he admitted he sees this as a long-term project.

However, he knows that in football the best-laid plans can quickly come unstuck - just like they did at Hibs.

Ross said: “You become hardened to the fact that it’s difficult to think too far ahead in my job because football management has become so transient.

“The longest I’ve coached at a club is three years at Dumbarton as an assistant. I got £100 a week! I negotiated a few pay rises along the way but it wasn’t significant!”

Ross acknowledged that what happened to him at Hibs hurt - especially being denied the chance to take the team in the cup final - but he has learned from the experience.

He said: “It was sore at first because of the timing of it and what was ahead in the weeks after.

“But you move on from it and reflect — because if I had got everything right then your position would never be under threat.

“I had to think - would I have done anything differently? Behaved differently? Changed anything?’.

“Hopefully that makes you better.”

After Ross’s departure from Easter Road, the Edinburgh club went on to lose the Premier Sports Final to Celtic and then endured a poor end to the season that cost his successor Shaun Maloney his job after just four months in charge.

However, Ross insists he did not feel in any way vindicated by Hibs problems.

He added: “It is funny when you leave clubs. I know there are a lot of things that float about which then become fact or ‘reality’ that there is never any truth in.

“I left – I didn’t agree with it – but I left on good terms.

“I have had messages from the chief exec and owner since I took this job so that gives you an indication of where that relationship still lies.

“I wish no ill will on the club. It was a brilliant club to manage. I was very, very close to my players and staff so that would probably give you an indication that I wanted them to do well.

“You don’t take any vindication from anything that happened after that.

“As I said, there is certainly no feeling of bitterness or a desire to prove them wrong.”

What happened at Hibs is now firmly in the past and Ross’s focus is on United.

He will work closely with club sporting director Tony Asghar, especially on signing targets, and Ross is sure it is a relationship that will pay dividends.

He said: “I think from the outside people looking in will wonder how I’ll fit in here.

“And that was part of the open conversations I had with Tony in the beginning because I am quite strong-willed and I have taken responsibility at clubs.

“The conversations I had with Tony, I made it clear I want to lead and am happy doing that.

“I want to make decisions, I want to be a decision maker because I don’t see myself as someone who just coaches the players.

“I am comfortable with the all-round aspect of football management.

“The good thing was I think Tony wanted that as well, to alleviate some of the load on him.

“It’s not taking the club in a different direction, it’s strengthening what it has at its disposal.”

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