Shaun Maloney shoots down talk of Hibs taking a risk on a rookie boss as he looks to make instant impact at Easter Road

Shaun Maloney believes his role in helping Belgium become the top-ranked nation in world football has fully prepared him to hit the ground running as Hibernian manager.

Shaun Maloney was unveiled as the new Hibernian manager at the club's training centre on Monday evening. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Shaun Maloney was unveiled as the new Hibernian manager at the club's training centre on Monday evening. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The 38-year-old has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with the Easter Road club as he takes up the first front line position of his fledgling coaching career after three years as part of Belgium boss Roberto Martinez’s backroom staff.

But Maloney is dismissive of the notion Hibs are taking a gamble on someone who has not previously faced the intensity and demands of being a manager in his own right.

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“I see it slightly differently,” he said. “Being assistant manager of Belgium is not pressure-free. There are really big games and tournaments, big moments.

Shaun Maloney (centre) in conversation with Roberto Martinez (right) during his time as assistant manager of the Belgian national team. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“So maybe that pressure is a big part of the reason why I feel completely ready.

“I also have to mention Roberto because he has been a tremendous head coach to learn from - very, very open and incredibly generous with his time which I’ve used a lot. I’ve learned an incredible amount in the last three years.

“From the point of view of it being my first job (as a manager), I’m aware of that. But I feel really experienced in terms of some of the high pressure moments and coaching players. I’m ready to get going.”

Maloney has not been directly involved in Scottish football since leaving his first coaching job with Celtic’s development squad in 2018 to commit himself to a full-time position with Belgium.

He takes charge of Hibs amid a hectic period of fixtures with his first game against Aberdeen at Easter Road on Wednesday night.

“I’m very up to speed,” he added. “I always watch the Scottish league. The preparation process is the same for every team and their individual players.

“In terms of time on the training pitch, there are different ways to coach players. The time on the pitch will be limited but that’s a challenge for me and my staff to overcome.

“Every team is the same right now, it’s not as if Hibs have less time and more games. It’s just a challenge we all face at this time of year.”

His predecessor Jack Ross lost his job amid a poor run of form which has seen Hibs win just two of their last 11 league games to slip out of the top six in the Premiership.

But although the January transfer window is looming large, Maloney indicated he doesn’t intend to try and make sweeping changes to the make-up of the first team squad.

“From my point of view, there is a lot of talent at Hibs,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with them.

“The January window is coming up but I’ve got to give priority to the players in the building before we look outside.

“Everyone gets a clean slate while we give them the messages they need. We’ll then take it from the training and the games. This club is also built on bringing players through so we’ll also look at the academy. We'll look inside before we look outside.”

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