Jack Ross insists Adam Jackson is now one of the first names on his teamsheet just weeks after the defender looked to be on his way out of Hibernian.

Jackson was one of a number of Paul Heckingbottom’s signings who struggled in the opening few months of the season and supporters were left questioning their future at the club.

The former Barnsley player was linked with interest from Bolton Wanderers in the January transfer window and his time at Easter Road looked to be up.

But, with injury to Ryan Porteous offering a fresh chance, Ross has showered praised on the stopper for the way he coped with his spells out of the starting line-up.

And, after the 25-year-old’s winner in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Kilmarnock, his second goal in two games, the Hibs manager has confessed Jackson fully merits his current place in the team.

Ross said: “Adam had a difficult period when he wasn’t in the team regularly and him and I spoke regularly throughout that period.

“He just wanted to play and I always understand that from players.

“Then, through circumstances, he found himself given an opportunity - and he absolutely grasped that.

“He’s been a little bit more stop-start because of little niggles but when he’s been available he’s played and I think that’s where he is in the pecking order at the moment.

“And deservedly so because of his performance levels.

“You see it more when he scores the goals, like he has done in the last couple of games, but his all-round performances since he’s been back in the team have been very good.

“So, I’m pleased for him, because all through the period he wasn’t in the team he continued to train really, really well and be ready to go when called upon.”