Robbie Stockdale aims to make impact in Scotland at second attempt

Robbie Stockdale admits he enjoyed representing Scotland much more than the Tartan Army enjoyed watching him.

Robbie Stockdale, left, and new Hibs manager Paul Heckinbottom check in at Easter Road with a mission to produce a team that will give their all, work hard and be attack-minded. SNS
Robbie Stockdale, left, and new Hibs manager Paul Heckinbottom check in at Easter Road with a mission to produce a team that will give their all, work hard and be attack-minded. SNS

However, Hibs’ new assistant head coach is determined to make a positive impression north of the Border after joining Paul Heckingbottom’s staff.

Stockdale, 39, played five times during Berti Vogts’ ill-fated stint in charge of the national side and, along with players such as Paul Devlin, Kevin Kyle and Gareth Williams, rather cruelly became synonymous with caps being liberally handed out.

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Stockdale, born in Yorkshire but eligible to play for Scotland through his Campbeltown-born grandmother, is adamant he has no regrets about his decision after catching the eye of Vogts, pictured, due to his form with 
Middlesborough.

“When you sign youth forms as a player I could obviously register my eligibility for Scotland,” he recalled.

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“It was forgotten about until I broke into the team at Middlesbrough and it snowballed. People started to take an interest. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed it.

“I’m not sure the supporters enjoyed watching it!

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“But it was something I could look back on and say I’m glad it happened, even though the results were tough. Representing Scotland was a fantastic honour and something that can’t be taken away from me.”

Stockdale went on to turn out for Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham, Rotherham, Hull, 
Darlington and Tranmere before hanging up his boots at Grimsby, where he also took his first steps into coaching.

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He was appointed youth team boss at Sunderland in 2012 and went on to enjoy three separate stints as caretaker manager of the Black Cats in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

While they are yet to officially work together, he built up a rapport with new Hibs head coach Paul Heckingbottom as they studied for their English Football Association qualifications.

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“We’ve known each other for a long time and came through the FA’s system with our badges,” continued Stockdale. “Although we’re both relatively young we’ve got good experience and we’ve promoted young players. We’re really looking forward to the challenge and getting started.

“Supporters should expect a team that will give their all, work hard and be attack-minded. If you look at Paul’s Barnsley team they punched above their weight for long periods in the Championship and he gave young players a chance with some really good experienced players around them.

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“It’s a good squad. They’re a hard-working group of players. We want to put our own stamp on the tactics. There’s a lot to work with and that’s the exciting bit. The training centre’s really good. I hadn’t been here before but it’s really impressive. There will be no excuses on that front.”

With both Heckingbottom and Stockdale boasting a pedigree in youth coaching, the 
latter is adamant they will place a focus on ensuring the Hibs academy bears fruit.

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Oli Shaw, Sean Mackie and Ryan Porteous have already made an impact this term, while Fraser Murray is on the cusp of the senior side.

“The way football’s going, if you can produce homegrown players through your own academy that have an affinity with your club then supporters get behind them,” he added. “It’s great for everybody. Add the experience from outside the building and hopefully we can build a powerful squad.”