Hibernian head coach Jack Ross will not advise Ryan Porteous or other young players to stay off social media despite his concerns over the recent abuse the defender received.
Ross revealed this week that Porteous had been subjected to sectarian and homophobic abuse in the wake of his Ibrox red card, and other vile messages which included someone wishing he developed a tumour.
Hibs failed in their appeal against the red card Porteous received in their 2-1 defeat for a much-debated challenge on Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo and the centre-back is suspended for Saturday’s cinch Premiership clash with Dundee United at Easter Road.
On the subject of social media, Ross said: “It’s very easy for me, at the age I am, to discipline myself not to use it. I grew up in a different era. And in my job it makes it pretty easy not to be visible on these platforms.
“But he is a 22-year-old man and a lot of people at that age grew up with it and use it regularly.
“It’s about the advice we can offer in terms of how he deals with some of the issues he might face on it, and his response to it.
“Fortunately we have a good player care department here to offer him that type of advice and guidance. These people have more expertise than me.
“I think it would be disappointing and unfortunate for any young person if they were forced not to use these platforms because of the types of abuse they might receive.”
Ross also took the opportunity to call for care in the reaction to on-field incidents after Porteous saw his approach critiqued.
“Some of the language that was used in the aftermath of it was excessive and disproportionate,” he said.
“I can’t say for certain whether that encouraged some of the reaction that Ryan has had to deal with on the back of that but I certainly don’t think (it) helped.
“It was an opportunity to remind people that their choice of language can sometimes affect other people’s behaviour, and also to highlight some of the personal abuse he received, as a 22-year-old man, has been entirely inappropriate.”
The Hibs boss is looking for his team to come back stronger after the international break following their first league defeat of the season, but some players did not get the chance to rest.
Martin Boyle had the busiest of times over the past week, scoring his fifth goal in nine games for Australia in their 11th consecutive World Cup qualifying win, against Oman, before his team went down to a late 2-1 defeat in Japan on Tuesday.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Ross said: “He is in today primarily to help him with his body clock and make sure he is not sleeping during the day. I am sure he will be OK.
“We will assess him again on Friday and hopefully he will be fine for the weekend.
“It has helped him grow in stature, he has replicated his form and numbers at international level, and he has made himself a mainstay of that Australia team.
“Every time he comes back we feel as if he grows in confidence, and he has a massive incentive to try and reach the World Cup.”
Kevin Nisbet only got the last seven minutes, plus stoppage time, of Scotland’s win over the Faroe Islands but he now has a real chance of starting against Moldova next month with Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie suspended.
“Albeit he only had the latter part of the game in the Faroes, I think he did affect the game positively,” Ross said.
“He knows now he has a realistic opportunity to force himself into the plans to start the game. So it’s a huge incentive for him to continue his club form and score goals regularly between now and that game.”
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