Ross aims to clinch third place for Hibs before cup focus

There's a huge week of football ahead for the Easter Road side.

Ross aims to clinch third place for Hibs before cup focus SNS Group

Jack Ross is determined to see his side nail down a third place finish in the Premiership before Hibs turn their focus to the Scottish Cup semi-finals.

The Easter Road side are six points ahead of fourth-placed Aberdeen with both sides having three matches left to play. Goal difference means that a Hibs win over St Johnstone this weekend would as good as guarantee third place behing champions Rangers and runners-up Celtic.

That league finish can now only provide a Conference League qualifying place for European competition, with Europa League participation the prize for the Scottish Cup winners, but Ross wants the Premiership job completed before the date at Hampden against Dundee United next weekend.

“[Finishing third] would be big for us, I’m not going to play that down,” the Hibs boss said.

“I know that some people will say the prize at stake in European competition has altered somewhat but for us, when we set that target at the beginning, it was never anything to do with that.

“It was about finishing in a position in the league that the club hasn’t done so in 15/16 years so that was huge for us.

“It has been a massive driver for us all season, the playing group will tell you that. We spoke about it constantly and prodded them to get there.

“We are in touching distance, we still have work to do to ensure we finish there but it is a massive incentive for us to clinch that third spot, it has been a big motivation for us all season.”

Once league business is over and thoughts turn to the final four of the Scottish Cup, Hibs will find themselves in the position of being favourites to lift the trophy, after Rangers were knocked out in the quarter finals.

Ross shrugged off the tag and said that it makes no difference to his side’s ambition who the other three semi-finalists are.

“It hasn’t changed in my opinion,” he said.

“It would be incredibly weak of us if we believed we could only win the competition if neither [Rangers or Celtic] were in it.

“For us, we spoke about winning the cup with all the teams involved since the beginning so it hasn’t altered our thought process in that respect.

“It makes no difference to me whether we are favourites or rank outsiders, our preparation when the game comes along will be as consistent as it has been for all games this season.

“There is a massive motivation for us to get to a final and we have a group who want to put themselves in the history books of the club as will all the players of the three other clubs who remain in the competition.” 

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