Jack Ross is a name that may not necessarily be widely known south of Scotland.
The current Sunderland manager took the main role in the northeast in the summer, with one intention from the owners- get promoted. The Black Cats have made a decent, if unspectacular, start to the League One campaign, but still look to be promotion candidates as the season goes on.
But it is not with Sunderland where the Scottish manager made his name; it was north of the border with St Mirren that he became known as one of the most promising managers around.
After a playing career spent in Scotland and England, Ross made the move to management in 2011, working as an assistant manager with Dumbarton before becoming a member of the coaching staff with Hearts. In December 2015, Ross became manager of struggling semi-professional Scottish Championship outfit Alloa. He could not avoid relegation, but the next season led the club to a 10-game unbeaten streak at the beginning of the season in League One.
This caught the attention of Scottish Championship strugglers St Mirren, who appointed the former defender as their manager in October 2016. This time round, the manager was able to stave off relegation for the club, before a hugely successful 2017/18.
In his first full season in charge of St Mirren, Ross had a barnstorming season, smashing the league and finishing 12 points ahead of their nearest rivals Livingston. This earned the boss the PFA Scotland Manager of the Year and Scottish Championship Manager of the Year accolades.
This obviously drew a lot of attention to the manager and paved the way for a move to Sunderland. The club had just suffered back to back relegations, and needing someone to curtail their downwards spiral and Ross fitted the bill. If he is able to gain promotion for The Black Cats this season, there is no telling where he could end up next. He could stay on another season and cement his team’s place in the Championship, but he could gain a lot of attention from bigger Scottish clubs.
With ongoing tensions between Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, and the club’s board over their budget, it may only be a matter of time before the Northern Irishman moves on. He has had a fantastic spell with the Glasgow club, winning back to back domestic trebles. Entering his third season now, he may have attracted attention from other clubs, and he may look to continue his career elsewhere. It may be a number of seasons before this happens, but Ross will be waiting in the wings ready to replace the former Liverpool boss when it happens.
Depending on the amount of success Ross has at Sunderland, taking the reins at Scotland’s biggest club seems inevitable, and it looks as though he’s already on course for Celtic Park.