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Mallan hopes Ross can perform another escape act at Hibernian

Stevie Mallan has already witnessed new Hibernian Jack Ross perform one remarkable escape act up close and he hopes to see a repeat performance at Easter Road.

Mallan was part of a St Mirren squad sitting rock bottom of the Ladbrokes Championship which Ross inherited when he replaced Alex Rae in October 2016.

His appointment in Paisley was not a quick fix as the Buddies lost their first six league games under the former Saints right-back.

But after performing major surgery on his team in January, Ross transformed the team into a side which would not only beat the drop that season but go on to win automatic promotion the following campaign.

The picture is not quite so bleak in Leith with Hibs two points above the Premiership drop zone.

But Mallan believes his reunion with his old boss could spark yet another stunning turnaround.

Speaking ahead of Ross’ first game in charge against Motherwell at Easter Road on Saturday, the midfielder said: “When it came up that Jack was coming here, I felt it was the right choice having worked with him before.

“I thought it was a no brainer. I’m hoping he can emulate what he did at St Mirren – if not better it.

“When he took over at Saints it was a harder task than he has got right now. We were seven points adrift at the bottom at one point at St Mirren but here we’re only a handful of points off fourth place.

“They lifted our spirits, changed the training and made it more enjoyable.”

While Mallan is looking forward to a brighter future with Ross, he admits he is still holding onto lingering regrets over axed boss Paul Heckingbottom’s departure.

Mallan worked with the Yorkshireman at Barnsley but believes he was let down by the players in Edinburgh.

Heckingbottom was sacked earlier this month after seeing his side win just one of their opening 11 league fixtures.

“Is there guilt when a manager is sacked? One hundred per cent,” said Mallan.

“The manager can put out any tactics or team but first and foremost it’s up to the players to perform on the park.

“We were the ones who didn’t do that so every player will feel guilty and we still do because a man did lose his job. We were part of that.

“I’ve been through quite a few managers in my career and it doesn’t get any easier as you do try your hardest for that manager but it obviously just didn’t work out.

“I felt we were working hard in training and out on the pitch but results just didn’t come our way.”

“We were hoping for that game that would flip it but it turned out to be the St Johnstone game when Eddie (May) took over and that makes you feel even worse as it was the same players. We just wished we’d done it for him. If we had, he might still be in a job.”