Jack Ross: St Mirren return to Scottish Premiership 'a realistic ambition'

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland
Jack Ross (right) shakes hands with St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott
Ross (right) believes his ambitions match those of St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott

New St Mirren manager Jack Ross insists guiding the club back to the Scottish Premiership is a realistic ambition during his spell in Paisley.

Ross, 40, takes over with the Buddies bottom of the Championship and without a win in their first eight matches.

He is their fifth full-time manager in the last two years but says the club's ambition matches his own.

"The fan base, stadium, the training ground, everything points towards it [being a Premiership club]," he said.

"With the new ownership model it is very much part of their long-term plan, and that marries with my ambitions as well.

"You can sometimes give sound bites as a manager that people think are unrealistic, but it is a realistic ambition for this club to believe that they will be back in the Premiership in the near future and it's my driving ambition to do that in the time period that I'm here."

Saints won the Scottish League Cup in 2013, their first major trophy since 1987, but were relegated from the top flight in 2015, and last season finished sixth in the Championship.

A poor start to the current campaign saw Alex Rae dismissed last month and former Buddies defender Ross appointed on Tuesday.

Managing Alloa one last time 'goes against grain'

Jack Ross shakes hands with Celtic winger James Forrest
Ross' Alloa are the only Scottish side to concede less than three goals at Celtic Park so far this season, impressing in a 2-0 League Cup defeat

Before taking up his post next Monday, 10 October, Ross will take charge of Alloa - who sit third in League One, three points off leaders Brechin - one last time on Saturday.

He will take them to North Wales for their Irn-Bru Cup tie against Bala Town, as St Mirren are preparing to face Hibernian at Easter Road.

"It's fairly simple in that there was a notice period within my contract," Ross explained. "I was happy to fulfil that because it's a contractual agreement between all three parties involved in this anyway and beyond that, I have enormous respect for the chairman of Alloa and also the players.

"I wanted to conduct myself properly; I know it goes against the grain of sometimes how things are done in football, but I will do exactly the same with the people I'm coming to work with at St Mirren, both at board level and particularly with the playing staff, I'll show them the same respect."

Quality of Saints players an 'enormous comfort'

In leaving Alloa for St Mirren, Ross will swap working with a squad of part-time players for the challenge of full-time football.

"I've always tried to progress, but [it had to be] something I felt was the right fit for me," he added.

"I've had experience here as a player when they were in the Premier League, so I understand the potential of the club and perhaps where it should be in the standing of Scottish football.

St Mirren's Tom Walsh scores their equaliser against Falkirk
Tom Walsh, who scored St Mirren's equaliser against Falkirk last Saturday, is one of the young players Ross will be working with

"It's a challenge when you see the league position at the moment. The one thing that gives me enormous comfort is when I was researching the position, I knew the squad to a degree but looking even more closely, recognising the calibre of player I'm coming to work with.

"There are players here with established careers and good pedigrees, and a number of young players with the potential to go on and have good careers. So I know I'm coming to work with good materials in that sense and the challenge for me is to get the best from them."