Ex-Hibs captain Grant Brebner appointed interim head coach of Australian side Melbourne Victory

Former Easter Road favourite takes charge of A-League outfit

Grant Brebner, in action for Hibs in 2003, has been appointed interim head coach of Melbourne Victory. Pic: SNS Group
Grant Brebner, in action for Hibs in 2003, has been appointed interim head coach of Melbourne Victory. Pic: SNS Group

Former Hibs captain Grant Brebner has been appointed interim head coach of Australian top-flight club Melbourne Victory.

The 42-year-old, who made 160 appearances across two spells at Easter Road, will take charge of the A-League side for the remainder of the 2019/20 season following the departure of Carlos Salvachua.

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Brebner, who won two titles with Victory as a player, had been operating as assistant manager when the campaign was suspended in March with the club sitting 10th and seven points outside the top six finals places with five fixtures remaining.

Melbourne Victory's Grant Brebner during a preseason friendly against Celtic in 2001. Pic: SNS Group Craig Williamson

The squad is due to return to training next week in preparation for the planned resumption of the 2019/20 A-League season in mid-July and Brebner is looking forward to getting the players ready.

“It’s obviously been a challenging few months, so it’s great to get back to work and start preparing to play football again,” he said.

“This season hasn’t unfolded as planned, but over the coming months the focus for the team will be to enjoy what we do and play tough attacking football, which is what our members and fans expect.

“This was the philosophy drummed into me as a Victory player, and I really want our players to play with freedom and embrace the brand of football our club has been known for over the past 15 years.

“We have a great opportunity over the coming months to build some strong foundations which the next head coach can then build on next season.”

Victory's W-League and academy head coach Jeff Hopkins will act as interim assistant to Brebner for the remainder of the season, with the club delaying the appointment of a permanent boss until the campaign is finished.

Victory CEO, Trent Jacobs, added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the club with numerous, unexpected hurdles, but our people continue to respond to the challenge.

"Grant and Jeff know our players well, and we want the transition to be as seamless as possible. Their priority will be to get the team to the fitness level required to perform, once the season resumes in mid-July.

“With respect to the search for our next A-League head coach, the recruitment process is progressing and remains on track. We will provide a further update in due course.

“It is not our intention for the successful candidate to be involved in the conclusion of the 2019/20 season, therefore they will be officially taking over in preparation for the commencement of the 2020/21 pre-season.”

Brebner first joined Hibs on loan from Manchester United in February 1998 but was unable to prevent the club being relegated that season.

He returned on a permanent basis the following summer and spent five years at Easter Road, playing in the 2001 Scottish Cup final defeat to Celtic, before latterly captaining a side that featured young stars such as Kevin Thomson and Scott Brown.

In August 2004 he was transferred to Dundee United before moving to Australia two years later.