Hibs’ Head Coach Jack Ross says that he was ‘surprised’ that the SPFL allowed Celtic to move their home game in January to accommodate their winter training camp in Dubai, a decision which left Leeann Dempster ‘fizzing.’

The fixture was originally scheduled to take place on a Saturday but has been moved to a Monday but Ross places no blame on Celtic who were within their rights to request the change.

Scottish Premiership – Hibernian v Celtic. Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK. 21/11/2020. Hibs play host to Celtic in the Scottish Premier League at Easter road, Edinburgh. Pic shows: Credit: Ian Jacobs

Speaking yesterday at the pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Motherwell he said: “I’m surprised. It’s nothing to do with Celtic, it’s the SPFL’s decision.

“Celtic were well within their rights to request a fixture change for whatever reason they see fit just like every other club The SPFL’s reasoning and explanation behind it is weak but I disagree with that.

“There’s nothing we can do, we have got to accept it but I don’t think it was handled properly but it’s done and we have got to move on.  

When it comes around it’ll be fine. The game we play afterwards will be OK.

“People mistake any complaint over that game being moved to believe it weakens you for any future match.

“It’s more to do with the way it came around and how easy it was for the SPFL to make that decision.

“I don’t think that’s been the case in the past. I don’t think it’s ever been as easy to request a fixture change and for the SPFL to be so accommodating, but it won’t, have any affect on our game when it comes around.”

Ross was also disappointed with an SPFL tribunal’s decision to award 3-0 defeats to St Mirren and  Kilmarnock due to breaches of Covid regulations which means that todays opponents Motherwell get six points moving them nearer Hibs in the table. He continued: “I don’t agree the punishment is befitting of the breaches.

“The SPFL have deemed it a fit punishment. We all have to adhere to that but I think it’s a disappointing day for Scottish football when we get to that point. I’m sure it will happen again as the season goes on.

“I don’t think those clubs have sought to seek any sporting advantage or sought to cut any corners. I can’t believe that for one second and I don’t think any of the evidence suggests that.

“Reading some of the breaches they’ve been found guilty of, like not sitting far enough apart on a coach, I’m sure players have sat closer together on an aeroplane when national teams have travelled.

“My feeling yesterday was one of sadness and disappointment when we decide a 3-0 victory should be awarded when clubs have been trying to do their best in \ lot of times very challenging circumstances.

“It’s nothing to do with Stephen (Robinson) or his players  the club, they just happen to be in the midst of these games and I’m sure they’d have argued that they’d have believed they’d have won both anyway. It can’t be proved either way.

“It potentially could have ramifications at the end of the season, you just don’t know.

 “You’d hope nothing was decided at the end of the season based on a game that was awarded a 3-0 victory and even the 3-0 scoreline baffles me.

“I’m sure someone out there can try and find out how many times a team wins by three goals in the Scottish Premiership especially outside the Old Firm.”

Hibs have a hectic 10-game schedule this month but Ross believes that the club are in a good position to cope.

He added: “We’ve had a pretty good season to date. We have not lost many matches. We’ve progressed to the quarter final of the League Cup so I think we are in a good place going into the schedule. It’s about making sure we have everybody available and ready to go.

“That’s why we have organised a couple of reserve games recently because we know for that month of December we are going to need players. We have a couple near to suspension so we are going to have to use our squad throughout the month. We’ve picked up injuries along the way as well.

“When you build a winning run and are picking up points away from home it stands you in good stead for the season. Our form means that every time we travel we do so with confidence.”

He concluded with an update on injuries: “Lewis Stevenson is back in the squad, Kyle Magennis won’t start training till Monday but we have a couple of concerns over two others but we will see how they react in training today but in the main pretty fit and healthy.”