Next Hibs manager: Six names in the running to replace Shaun Maloney

Hibs are searching for a new manager for the second time this season following the decision to part company with Shaun Maloney after just 120 days in charge.

The former Belgium number two was sacked following back-to-back derby defeats to Hearts, with a 3-1 defeat at Tynecastle in the league which condemned Hibs to a bottom six finish followed by a Scottish Cup semi-final loss at Hampden.

Hibs look set to take their time before deciding on their next move after putting first-team coach David Gray in interim charge until the end of the season, but here are five possible candidates to fill the void left by Maloney.

Kevin Thomson

Kelty Hearts manager Kevin Thomson is a likely candidate for the Hibs vacancy. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
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The former Hibs midfielder is making a name for himself in the lower leagues having guided Kelty Hearts to the League Two title with five games to spare. He also claimed a notable scalp in this season’s Scottish Cup by knocking out holders St Johnstone. Thomson is highly-regarded and is sure to be a serious contender, but at 37 he is two years younger than Maloney and is only a year into his first managerial post. His appointment may be viewed as another gamble.

Derek McInnes

Overlooked by Hibs last time out in favour of Maloney, the man who led Aberdeen to regular third-place finishes and European football across a decade at Pittodrie is now in charge of Championship side Kilmarnock, who will clinch promotion back to the top flight if they beat Arbroath at Rugby Park on Friday night. Hibs may now be regretting not opting for the experience of McInnes when he was available in December and could look to tempt him away from Killie regardless of their promotion outcome.

John Kennedy

John Kennedy turned down the chance to manage Hibs three years ago. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The Celtic assistant coach was interviewed for the Hibs vacancy in November 2019 but reportedly turned down the opportunity to take charge, with Jack Ross subsequently given the job. Kennedy is a key part of Ange Postecoglou’s backroom staff and a friend of Maloney given they are former team-mates but, nearly three years down the line, he may now feel ready to take his first step into management if Hibs were minded to make another approach for the highly-regarded coach.

Neil Lennon

Hibs enjoyed a successful three-year spell under Lennon which included winning the Scottish Championship and a decent run in Europe following a fourth-placed finish in their first season back in the top flight. He left Easter Road under a cloud after being suspended following an exchange with other club employees, but with a change of regime at Hibs since then, rebuilding bridges would not be impossible. Lennon is now in charge of Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia but may fancy another crack in Scotland.

Scott Brown

Scott Brown attended the recent Hibs v Dundee United match at Easter Road. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Brown is currently without a club after leaving Aberdeen, where he spent the first seven months of the season as assistant manager to Stephen Glass before his sacking. Brown had his coaching duties removed by new manager Jim Goodwin and left the club in order to pursue opportunities elsewhere. The former Hibs midfielder – who went on to captain Celtic to 22 domestic honours – might view the club who helped him make the breakthrough as a player as the perfect place to do likewise in management.

Malky Mackay

The former Cardiff, Watford and Wigan boss has relaunched his career in style this season by steering Ross County to a top six place in the Scottish Premiership in his first management job since 2015. Mackay’s pedigree would make him a contender but Hibs would also need to consider any possible negative reaction that could come with appointing a man with a chequered past following accusations of sending racist, homophobic and sexist text messages while manager of Cardiff in 2014.

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