Jack Ross made a gigantic leap in his managerial career last month, swapping newly-promoted St Mirren for freshly-relegated Sunderland in England’s third tier.
And while the former Alloa boss will have his work cut out in leading the Black Cats back to the Premier League, the 41-year-old has acknowledged the role Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has played in his development.
Ross was expected to lead the Buddies on their return to the Scottish Premiership next term, having masterminded their escape from the Championship with an impressive brand of attacking football.
However, with Sunderland under new ownership and having sacked ex-Wales boss Chris Coleman, Ross became their number one candidate to revamp a squad short on both confidence and quality.
And while Ross never got the chance to manager in the same division as Rodgers during his time in Scotland, he has revealed the Irishman has played an “influential” role in his decision to move down south.
Ross told the Sunderland Echo, “I’ve been very fortunate that since Brendan Rodgers came to Scotland he’s been very helpful in general.
“I’m lucky in that I’ve been able to see him when he’s been able to fit me in and when our Championship season had finished I saw him.”
Ross added, “I had the opportunity to speak with Ipswich and spoke to him about that and the next steps to take in my career.
“He’s been helpful and influential in giving me the encouragement to move forward”
“He’s someone who I am lucky in able to counsel when I can and he has had success in England and with Celtic too – as a young manager for me it’s a tremendous thing to have.”
The pressure will be on Ross to restore Sunderland to their former glory next season… but with an experienced manager like Rodgers in his corner, he might be exactly what the club need to get back on track.