Next Hibs manager: Roy Keane drops out of contention with further departure expected at Easter Road

Roy Keane has dropped out of the running to be the next Hibs manager, with neither the Irishman or the Edinburgh club interested in discussing the role.

Chris Mueller is set to head back to the US.
Chris Mueller is set to head back to the US.

The 50-year-old former Sunderland and Ipswich Town boss, who had a distinguished playing career with Manchester United, was made the early frontrunner for the job by the bookmakers after media reports suggested that the vacancy had caught his eye.

While Hibs are looking for an experienced figure to replace Shaun Maloney, who was sacked just four months into his Easter Road tenure, it is understood that the club has not had any contact with Keane in the wake of interest from his representatives and he will not feature on the club’s shortlist, which is due to be compiled when US-based owner Ron Gordon arrives in Scotland this weekend. For his part, a report in The Times claims that Keane was not impressed with Hibs’ “transfer committee”, which is made up of a manager, chief executive Ben Kensell, head of recruitment Ian Gordon and others.

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Michael Appleton, who was close to taking the Hibs job in 2019 before the appointment of Paul Heckingbottom, is now the new favourite, while Phillip Cocu, Henning Berg and Ross County manager Malky Mackay also feature high in the betting.

Meanwhile, American forward Chris Mueller is set to leave Hibs and return to Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire, with the move likely to go through in the coming days.

Reports from the US late on Monday suggested that a deal had been struck for the 25-year-old to return to America and sign for his hometown side, barely four months after he officially joined the Easter Road side.

Mueller’s contract at previous club Orlando City expired at the end of the 2021 MLS season and the twice-capped USMNT internationalist was unveiled as a pre-contract signing by Hibs last summer on a deal running until the end of the 2024/25 campaign.

He eventually joined up with the Capital club in early January but after just 15 appearances and one goal – in the Scottish Cup fifth-round win against Arbroath in February – is poised to return to his homeland.

It is understood that Mueller has struggled to settle in Scotland and adapt to the differences between MLS and the Scottish Premiership, and the chance to join his local club was one he was keen to explore.

He is also likely to get greater game-time in Chicago, having found regular minutes in green and white hard to come by recently.