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Jan 19, 2020 at 3pm UK
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Hibs boss Jack Ross praises "ambitious and driven" Robbie Neilson

:Headline: Hibs boss Jack Ross praises 'ambitious and driven' Robbie Neilson:
The former defender, who took Hearts into the top flight, pits leaders Dundee United against Hibernian in the Scottish Cup on Sunday.
PA | 1mo

Hibernian head coach Jack Ross can appreciate Robbie Neilson’s repeat runaway Championship campaign all the more following his own success in the second tier.

Dundee United stretched their lead at the top of table to 17 points ahead of their William Hill Scottish Cup fourth-round tie with Hibs at Tannadice on Sunday.

Neilson led Hearts to the Championship title with a 21-point gap over Hibernian in 2015 with Rangers a further three points adrift, while Ross enjoyed a 12-point gap when he led St Mirren to promotion in 2018.

Unlike Hearts and St Mirren, United were firm favourites for the title before a ball was kicked but Ross does not think that negates how impressive their form is.

The former Sunderland manager, who was Hearts under-20s boss when Neilson led the club to promotion, said: “He’s always been ambitious and driven. He has shown that from what he has achieved to date because he has been successful for a young manager.

“Moving to England in the first place probably didn’t surprise me because I think managers see it as an opportunity to test themselves again.

“Probably similar to myself, do you expect to then return to Scotland relatively quickly? Maybe not but it sometimes happens.

“He got an opportunity at a good club, a club that had the potential to go in the right direction, and that’s what they are doing at the moment.

“Robbie has had experience of winning that league, I have had the same experience, and it isn’t an easy league to win at any point.

“So for them to have the gap they have at the top of the table is testament to their consistency. They have been relentless in their form and it’s not easy to do.

“People will point to the resources they have but that doesn’t a matter a jot if you can’t go and get the best from those resources and they have managed to do that this season.

“It was arguably the hardest tie any team in the competition could have got if you are not getting a team in your own league. We know it’s going to be challenging but we are playing in the Premiership week in, week out and we believe we are a good team as well.”

Ross expects some transfer activity before the deadline with Chris Maxwell in the process of ending his loan from Preston after fellow goalkeeper Adam Bogdan signed a deal until the end of the season.

“I would expect there to be movement in both directions before the window closes,” Ross said. “Some of the direction out the way might influence some of the activity that is in the way.”

On Friday night Hibs announced the loan signing of Belgian midfielder Stephane Omeonga from Genoa until the end of the season.

Omeonga, who made 17 appearances across a similar stint in Edinburgh last season, told hibernianfc.co.uk: “I’m really happy to be back at Hibernian. It feels like home. When I left it felt like I had unfinished business and I said as much at the time. As soon as I heard there was a chance for me to come back I jumped at it.”

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool26251061154676
2Manchester CityMan City26173667293854
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
4Chelsea2612594336741
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd2610883829938
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
9Everton26106103438-436
10Arsenal2671363634234
11Burnley26104123039-934
12Southampton2694133248-1631
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
16Bournemouth2675142640-1426
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2666143045-1524
19Watford2659122440-1624
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool26251061154676
2Manchester CityMan City26173667293854
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
4Chelsea2612594336741
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd2610883829938
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
9Everton26106103438-436
10Arsenal2671363634234
11Burnley26104123039-934
12Southampton2694133248-1631
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
16Bournemouth2675142640-1426
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2666143045-1524
19Watford2659122440-1624
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418
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