St Mirren give Ipswich Town permission to speak to Jack Ross
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Scottish club St Mirren have given Ipswich Town permission to speak to their manager Jack Ross, the EADT and Ipswich Star understands.
The 41-year-old has dramatically transformed the fortunes of the Paisley club, guiding them to a runaway Scottish Championship title success just 18 months on from inheriting a team that was rock-bottom of the second-tier.
It was an achievement which saw him pip Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers to the PFA Scotland Manager of the Year award.
Ross, who was recently linked to the vacancy at League One play-off side Charlton Athletic, has said he wants to recruit ‘between seven and nine players’ at the Buddies this summer and is ‘not interested in going up to tread water’.
He was interviewed for the Barnsley job back in February when St Mirren were 14 points clear at the top.
Reflecting on that he said: “Whether I would have been offered the job, I don’t know. I went to speak to the club, I considered it and I felt I didn’t want to take it any further.
“I might not have been offered the job anyway, so I can’t say I rejected it. But at that time I felt I was better where I was.
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“I am in a really good job. I really enjoy it and with the timing, I felt it wasn’t finished. We were pursuing the Championship at the time.
“What I have at St Mirren... the infrastructure of the club, the relationship I have with the board, the autonomy I have on the football side, the training facility.
“It is easy to jump ship but sometimes you have to step back and say ‘I have a lot of good things at my disposal here’. If I do move, it would have to be for something that felt better.”
St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick recently said that the club made their worst-ever decision by allowing a young Sir Alex Ferguson to join Aberdeen in 1978 and will not make the same mistake with Ross.
“They made the biggest mistake of their lives, St Mirren Football Club, when they let Sir Alex go,” he said. “So we can’t allow that to happen again until it’s right for Jack and the club.
It is important we keep this young man. I am not worried at all. We see it as a positive. It means we are doing the right things at the club.
“It is the same as our young players. When you look at the last year, we have sold three young players as well for over £1m, which we didn’t want to do.
“We want the interest from other clubs and Jack can handle that and we can handle it as a club.
“There will be a time, make no mistake about it, when Jack Ross will leave this club and it will be a sad day.
“But we’re in the Premiership now, he loves it here, he loves the club and I think he will be keen on having a real go.”
A former full-back who hails from Falkirk, Ross played for Clyde, Hartlepool, Falkirk, St Mirren and Hamilton Academical and was capped once by his country at ‘B’ level.
His coaching career started at Dumbarton, where he progressed from assistant manager to caretaker manager, before a 14-month spell in charge of the development team at Hearts.
He was appointed Alloa Athletic boss in December 2015 but was unable to prevent the part-time club from being relegated to the third tier. He then led the Wasps to a club-record 10-game winning streak in all competitions at the start of the next season before being head-hunted by St Mirren.
Speaking early last month, he said: “I love the job, I have an affection for the club. I am very comfortable in the role I have here and know the potential of the club.
“Of course I am ambitious and want to manage at the highest level I can but it would have to be the right fit because I work in a certain way.
“This is the biggest thing I’ve done. But I’d hope it won’t be the biggest thing I do in my whole career.
“The next challenge would be to figure out how I achieve something more.”
Ipswich Town have a rich history when it comes to Scottish players and managers. Four of their 1961/62 title-winning squad hailed from north of the border, while George Burley, John Wark and Alan Brazil followed during the halcyon days of the ‘70s and early ‘80s.
The Blues have had just 15 permanent managers in their 82-year professional history and three of them – Scott Duncan, John Duncan and Burley – have been Scottish.