HIBERNIAN have received more than 40 applications for the vacant post of manager and expect to start talking to candidates within the next few days, chief executive Leeann Dempster said last night.
In addition to those applications, which have come from within Britain and further afield, Dempster said that Hibs would also examine the credentials of some individuals whom they had identified themselves as possible successors to Terry Butcher, who was relieved of his post this week.
Names that have been linked to the post include former Hibs managers John Collins and Tony Mowbray, ex-club captain Ian Murray – now at Dumbarton – Owen Coyle, Danny Lennon and Stuart McCall. Dumbarton vice-chairman Colin Hosie admits he is not surprised that manager Murray is being linked with a move to Hibs but insists there has been no contact from the Easter Road club. Hosie said: “Obviously it’s flattering that Ian’s name is being quoted in terms of the Hibs job because he has played and captained there, but it is purely speculation and there’s nothing we can do about that. Ian has done very, very well for Dumbarton.”
Dempster said: “We are carrying out diligence on the names that are of greatest interest to us, from those targeted by us and also those who have come towards us. And from that process we are creating our shortlist. I would hope that we will be able to start talking to people over the next few days. I understand there will be a lot of speculation and interest, and we will try to keep people posted when it is appropriate to do so. Meantime, we will try to get things concluded to get the right person in as quickly as we can.”
Since being relegated from the Premiership three weeks ago, Hibs have parted company with 15 players. Twelve of those were their own employees, prominent among them being former captains Kevin Thomson, James McPake and Ben Williams, while the other three were loan players returning to their parent clubs – Duncan Watmore, Daniel Boateng and Danny Haynes.
Butcher presided over the clear-out, in which player/coach Alan Maybury, midfielders Tom Taiwo and Paul Cairney and striker James Collins also left Easter Road. Dempster officially took up office at her new club at the start of this month, a week after the players were released. Her first major decision was to axe Butcher, a move that was announced on Tuesday after being given the full backing of the Hibs board of directors.
While the club deliberate over their choice of manager, they finalised another key appointment yesterday, naming George Craig in the new post of head of football operations. Craig previously worked with the Scottish Football Association on its Club Academy Scotland programme. “I’m delighted to be given this opportunity at Hibernian,” he said. “It’s a new role at the club and a fresh opportunity to move everything forward. My main objective will be to ensure there is a clear pathway from our Academy set-up all the way through to the first team. This is a club with huge potential.”
Dempster explained that Craig’s new title did not mean that he was a director of football under another name, and that he would work closely with her on various elements of the club’s activities. “Just to clarify the point, his remit is broad and covers a wide range of areas – he is not a director of football,” she said.