HIBERNIAN manager Pat Fenlon says Jimmy Nicholl is the perfect man to guide the next generation of Easter Road youngsters after snapping up the popular coach from Kilmarnock.
The 56-year-old has been named assistant manager at the capital club after, according to Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston, turning down the opportunity to be considered for their vacant managerial position.
Fenlon believes Nicholl will be pivotal in continuing the progress of young talent such as Alex Harris, Ross Caldwell, Danny Handling and Jordon Forster after – along with Kenny Shiels – bringing through several gifted young players at
“Jimmy is particularly good in the development of young players and this is an important factor for the club,” said Fenlon. “He has a deep knowledge of the game, and of Scottish football in particular, and will be a great asset to the club. I am delighted to have such an experienced coach as my assistant.”
Fenlon has been without an assistant manager since June last year, when Billy Brown’s contract was not renewed by the capital club. Liam O’Brien will retain his role as first-team coach.
Nicholl added: “When Pat spoke of his plans for the club it was an easy decision for me. I am delighted to be his assistant.”
Hibs’ new-look coaching team begins work today as the Easter Road side return to training ahead of the new campaign – just three weeks after losing out 3-0 in the Scottish Cup final against Celtic.
It is not clear whether Alan Maybury, who is in talks over a new deal, or Shefki Kuqi, who the club have yet to confirm has departed following an underwhelming campaign last term, will report for duty. New signing Liam Craig will take part in his first session at his new club, while Martin Scott and Callum Booth, who spent last season on loan at Ross County and
Livingston respectively, could also come back into the fold.
Hibs’ swift return from holiday has been caused by their
participation, along with
St Johnstone, in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. It means Fenlon’s men need to be steeled for competitive action on 18 July.
The draw is made next Monday, with the likes of wealthy Russians Rubin Kazan, Standard Liege or Trabzonspor possible opponents for Hibs’ first foray into Europe since 2010.
Meanwhile, Hibs have revealed details of a pre-season trip to mainland Europe as they gear up for their early start. After visiting the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany last summer, Fenlon will again take his charges to mainland Europe for a week-long training camp.
Hibs are expected to be based in southern Spain and will travel to face Uefa’s newest nation,
Gibraltar, on 3 July, before heading to Portugal for a second friendly – yet to be confirmed – on 6 July.