JACK ROSS has told Sunderland supporters to carry on abusing him rather than his players in the wake of this afternoon’s fractious scenes at Bolton.

On the pitch, Aiden McGeady’s stoppage-time penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw after Sunderland had fallen behind to Jack Hobbs’ close-range opener at the start of the second half.

But off the field, Ross was subjected to a series of less-than-complimentary chants from the 4,037-strong travelling support as the frustration mounted in the second half.

Sunderland supporters chanted “You don’t know what you’re doing” as Ross replaced Chris Maguire with Charlie Wyke midway through the second period, and a significant number of travelling fans joined in with the Bolton support as they aimed a chorus of “You’re getting sacked in the morning” at Ross prior to McGeady’s equaliser.

Ross opted not to go over to the Sunderland supporters at the final whistle, but a group of players received a mixed reaction as they headed to the travelling fans.

“If there’s any criticism, give it to me,” said Ross. “That’s my job. You make decisions based on how you think players are performing at the time. We then find an equaliser. So, whether it justifies it (the substitution) or not, I don’t know.

“It’s my job to make those decisions. It’s fine - criticism is no problem.

“That's football isn't it? Listen, I'm a 43-year-old man. I've been through a lot in life to earn the right to work. I've dealt with things in family life.

“Trust me, it's not a flippant remark because like every human being, criticism is not nice for any person, irrespective of what walk of life they're in. But the strength of character to deal with it is a different thing.”

Ross was, however, frustrated at his players’ failure to take all three points, conceding that failings at both ends of the pitch once again proved costly.

Hobbs’ goal means Sunderland still haven’t kept a clean sheet this season, while Tom Flanagan and Will Grigg both spurned gilt-edged chances as they failed to even find the target with free headers.

“We didn't play well (in the) first half,” said Ross. “We still created opportunities first half, but we didn't play great.

“Our response to going behind was good, and then we created a lot of opportunities and on another day we could have scored more goals.

“In fairness to the players, their courage to keep pushing right to the end was evident because it looked like it wasn't going to happen for them. They got their reward eventually in terms of the penalty.

“But there was frustration in terms of the number of opportunities we created and didn't score. I've said it already, so it's not as if there's an elephant in the room, in terms of keeping clean sheets, we’re not doing well enough because it makes things tough in competitive games.”