St Mirren boss Jack Ross urges education drive to combat gambling in football

St Mirren boss Jack Ross
Jack Ross is Scottish Championship manager of the month for April

St Mirren manager Jack Ross believes that gambling in Scottish football is not an epidemic, but says individuals will break the rules.

The Scottish Championship manager of the month says football needs to do more, not just to advise players about gambling but all welfare issues.

Ross has guided the Buddies to Championship safety after being at the foot of the table on 8 April.

Saturday's 1-1 draw at Hibs ensured they avoided a relegation play-off.

Ross was speaking after Annan Athletic chairman Henry McClelland was charged with allegedly placing 4,011 football bets, including 430 involving his own club.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender Lewis Horner has also been charged with allegedly placing 353 football bets, including three accumulators involving his side.

'There has to be a continued education process'

The Scottish FA charges against McClelland date back to July 2011 up to 1 May 2017 and four of the bets were placed on Annan to lose. He has until next Tuesday to respond.

"Gambling is ingrained in our culture, not just football," said Ross, a former chairman of PFA Scotland.

"It creates more headlines in football because of the rules and the regulations. There has to be a continued education process.

"It's when we have instances that create headlines, quite often there is a focus on it and people think we need to be proactive in how we deal with it, then that dissipates over a period of time until the next headline comes along. It happens with other areas, like mental health.

"I don't think the structure is right, in terms of how everybody in football comes together to try to be supportive on all-round welfare issues, not just gambling.

"I don't think it's an epidemic within the game. There will be instances of players or people who will break the rules and regulations, but the key is to put forward a consistent and ongoing education programme, particularly with younger players, and trying to make that part of the culture. It's not an easy thing to do."

St Mirren midfielder Stevie Mallan
St Mirren midfielder Stevie Mallan scored six goals in the final nine league games as the team escaped relegation

Ross says "satisfaction" was the over-riding emotion after St Mirren secured their Championship status at the weekend following the 1-1 draw with title-winners Hibernian at Easter Road.

The manager and his staff took Sunday off but were straight back to work on Monday to begin the process of building a side to mount a promotion challenge next season.

Ross expects interest in midfielder Stevie Mallan to "firm up" and acknowledges that he may also lose Lewis Morgan, whose performances have generated interested other clubs, but he does not expect to make wholesale changes.

"Naturally, I would like to keep the bulk of the squad together, and I will have to add two or three," Ross said.

"I've always known there was a chance I would lose [Mallan]. I'd prefer not to, for obvious reasons because he's a big asset. But because of the relationship I have with him, he knows I want him to progress.

"That will be a decision for Stevie himself, if there is firm interest, and the earlier that's done, if it is, the more it helps me. I'm realistic to know [losing players] might be the case and then it's about finding good replacements.

"It very much depends on who leaves, but we don't need to add an awful lot if we keep the bulk of the squad together. For next season, the aim has to be to be promoted. I like to have aims, and I like the players to have that, and I probably started to think about that as soon as the game finished on Saturday. That's my job, top try to push this club as far as I can.

"Not just since Saturday but prior to that, the form we were in and the way we were playing, you start to get more players coming to you and saying they want to play for St Mirren. I don't think we have to persuade people to be interested in coming here, they recognise the potential of the club."

Top Stories