TWO former Old Firm stalwarts have emerged as early front-runners to replace Pat Fenlon at Hibernian.
Peter Grant, currently out of football, and Terry Butcher, the Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager, are understood to be interested in the post which became vacant following Fenlon’s resignation on Friday.
The vastly experienced Grant has worked as first team coach to Alex McLeish at Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest and alongside Tony Mowbray at Celtic, the club he served with distinction as a player. He also managed in his own right at Norwich City.
Scotland on Sunday has learned he is keen to return to the game as soon as possible and views the Hibs job as a plum post.
Butcher yesterday tried to play down reports linking him with a move to Easter Road. Speaking after Caley Thistle’s win over Kilmarnock, the former Rangers captain said: “What I would say is it is just speculation as far as I’m concerned.”
Butcher, who guided his team into the League Cup semi-finals last week, added: “Would it be difficult to leave with a cup semi-final in store? I brought all of these players here. At any time it would be difficult. This team has a lot in it. We don’t know how good we can be or what’s at the end of it for us.
“It is all ifs, buts and maybes. We’ll wait and see.”
Kenny Shiels, the former Kilmarnock manager, is also attracted to the post. Speaking yesterday, he said: “What an honour it is to even be mentioned with a club of that stature.”
Jimmy Nicholl, Fenlon’s assistant at Easter Road, will take charge of Hibernian for today’s league match at Motherwell and Ben Williams, the Hibs goalkeeper, endorsed Nicholl’s credentials.
Williams said: “Jimmy has managed before and he is a great coach and he would give us continuity.
“I think it’s important that, whoever takes over, that person is given a fresh start and we all move on, totally move on, from the  Scottish Cup final, which was a long time ago, and we move on from even last season’s cup final, where a lot of people felt we should have done better. I think the fans have to be realistic and the club maybe has to be a little bit more transparent about what we can and should be achieving. I think it’s important that we give the next
manager every chance to realise that.”