Next Hibs manager: Early candidates for Easter Road role - including Derek McInnes, Neil Lennon, Celtic coach and ex-Hearts target

Hibs are searching for a new manager just weeks into the domestic season following the sacking of Lee Johnson.

The Easter Road outfit announced on Sunday afternoon that the 42-year-old had been “relieved of his duties” following a “disappointing start” to their Premiership campaign. Hibs sit bottom of the league table after three rounds of fixtures after defeats by St Mirren, Motherwell and Livingston, and are the only team in the division without a point.

First-team coach and former club captain David Gray has once again been entrusted with caretaker duties, with upcoming away matches against Aston Villa and Aberdeen before the international break, while the Hibs hierarchy work out who to appoint as their next boss. We cast our eye over some of the early candidates.

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Derek McInnes

Derek McInnes is currently in charge of Kilmarnock.Derek McInnes is currently in charge of Kilmarnock.
Derek McInnes is currently in charge of Kilmarnock.

The 52-year-old has started the season well with Kilmarnock, registering wins over Rangers and Celtic. McInnes recently signed a new contract with the Rugby Park outfit and spoke of his ambition win silverware and guide Killie back into Europe. His past exploits with Aberdeen – where he qualified for Europe on a regular basis, won the League Cup and took the Dons to Hampden on multiple occasions – as well as his vast experience of Scottish football may appeal to the Hibs board should they be looking for an appointment within Scottish football.

Stephen Robinson

The Northern Irishman took St Mirren into the top six of the Premiership for the first time last season and has continued that form into the current campaign, with one of the wins coming over Hibs. He was linked with the Luton Town vacancy last season and much like McInnes, appears one of the principal candidates should Hibs look close to home

Neil Lennon

A former Hibs manager between 2016 and 2019, he left under a cloud despite winning the Championship, earning promotion and then reaching Europe. Since that acrimonious departure, Lennon has returned to Celtic and also had a spell in Cyprus with Omonia before leaving in October last year. Back in Scotland and keeping his hand in with media work, the Northern Irishman has made no secret of his desire to return to front-line management.

Callum Davidson

The former St Johnstone manager is currently out of work following his departure from the Perth club in the spring. Won a historic League and Scottish Cup double in the 2020/21 season, defeating Hibs in the semis of one competition and the final of other, but since struggled to get a tune out of the McDiarmid Park outfit before being replaced by Steven MacLean. Like Lennon, would be free and available immediately and would not cost in terms of compensation to another club.

Scott Brown

A former Hibs midfielder, Brown took the plunge into management last year with Fleetwood Town in the third tier of English football. However, much like Hibs, The Fishermen have started the season poorly, taking just one point from their first five league matches under the 38-year-old former Scotland and Celtic captain.

John Kennedy

The Celtic assistant manager was a real candidate for the Hibs job back in 2019 and was linked with the Hearts vacancy early this year. The 40-year-old appears content at Parkhead and recently pledged his future to the club alongside returning manager Brendan Rodgers, turning down overtures from his old boss Ange Postecoglou at Tottenham Hotspur, but given his stock as a coach is very high in Scotland, Hibs may look to approach once more.

Marti Cifuentes

Interviewed for the Hearts job in June and linked with Aberdeen earlier this year, the 41-year-old Hammarby manager is known to be keen on a move to Britain. The 41-year-old Spaniard guided the Swedish club to third place in the Allsvenskan last season, securing European football, and currently has them sitting sixth in 2023 campaign.