NEARLY four years on from his final game in the Alloa Athletic dugout, you’ll struggle to find anyone in Clacks with a bad word to say about Jack Ross. 

The former St Mirren player’s time at the Recs was brief, but, in his easy charisma, infectious enthusiasm, and legacy that lives on to this day, he endeared him to the Wee County faithful. 

If you needed any more proof, a quick glance at the history book on from that last hurrah in Bala Town show he laid foundations that still stand at the heart of the club. 

READ MORE: Hibs loanee sings praises of legendary Celtic duo

Be it the clutch of key first team players, Andy Graham and Scott Taggart included, who arrived under his watch, or the change in mentality that ultimately delivered promotion under Jim Goodwin’s tenure, the Ross year continues to play a part in Alloa’s success. 

Hibs may be the first team on his mind now, but it didn’t stop him from playing a key role in the signing of Peter Grant’s latest summer recruit. 

Innes Murray’s move from the capital to Clacks on loan was born out of Ross’ kind words about the part-timers and it didn’t take long for Alloa to live up to the 22-year-old’s expectations. 

“Jack Ross basically sorted the move for me,” Murray told Advertiser Sport. “He had spoken to the chairman [Mike Mulraney] and told me how good a club it was, right from the top down to the people in charge. They are good people who just want the best for the club.

“On the first night, the chairman was there to welcome us all back. Then you’ve got the likes of Pat [Dunne, the kitman], who has been great with me so far.

“I was in from the start of June [at Hibs] and it was good. I’ve enjoyed Jack’s style of training and it seems quite similar to Peter Grant. They want to get the ball down and play attacking football.” 

If Ross’ words weren’t enough to convince him, Murray could also turn to his mate Ben Stirling, the defender, who spent time at Alloa last season before it was cut short by the pandemic. 

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Ben Stirling spent time with Alloa last season Ben Stirling spent time with Alloa last season

“Ben was there last year, who I was at Hibs with, and he said the same,” Murray, who has previously spent time on loan at Airdrieonians and Stenhousemiur, said. “The manager wants to play good football and he told me it would suit my style of play.” 

Murray, a former youth player at Celtic, linked up with his new team-mates at their return to training last month and, while the strict Covid-19 rules are still taking a bit of getting used to, he says he has been warmly welcomed by all. 

“It’s been really good,” he said. “The boys have been off for a long time and there has been a bit of running and pre-season. 

“It’s been tough but good to be around all the boys, even although it’s not normal. We are not in the changing rooms or anything but they have welcomed me in nicely.

“It takes a bit of getting used to. You have to turn up in your kit, but training is pretty much normal and you are allowed to do anything you normally can. 

“There’s no changing room or shower after. It’s alright once you get used to it.

“On the training pitch, it’s no different and you get time to talk to people. It’s pretty much normal once you get underway.

READ MORE: Alloa look set to sign Innes Murray from Hibs

“We are all good and just excited to be back. It’s been so long since we all saw each other and we just want games back now. 

“Now, I am just looking to get as much first team football as possible at a good level.

"There was no point in me going out and to League One or League Two. I want to be team that plays football the right way.”