TERRY Butcher’s prospective move from Inverness Caledonian Thistle to become Hibernian manager is now expected to be concluded on Monday, both clubs have indicated.
The Caley Thistle boss is due to stay away from the game between the sides at Easter Road this afternoon, but was reported to have said goodbye to his current playing staff yesterday morning.
Jimmy Nicholl, Hibs’ caretaker manager since the resignation of Pat Fenlon eight days ago, will be in the home dugout for the Premiership match. Butcher’s assistant Maurice Malpas – also a target for Hibs along with chief scout Steve Marsella – will take charge of Caley Thistle.
Nicholl, who took the Hibs team for their 1-0 defeat at Motherwell last Sunday, was told at the start of this week that he would also be in charge for the Inverness match. He was scheduled to address the media as interim manager yesterday as part of the customary pre-match press conference, but “politely declined” according to a Hibs employee.
That was one sign that talks between Butcher and his would-be new employers had reached an advanced stage. Caley Thistle were expected to issue a statement yesterday afternoon to say just how advanced, but in the end decided no update was required, instead letting it be known that they expected to say something on Monday.
The fact that the two clubs play each other today may have complicated the matter, but privately Hibs have consistently stated they would be in no rush to conclude negotiations just in order to avoid any potential for embarrassment this afternoon. With an international break to follow this weekend’s fixtures, the appointment of Butcher early next week would still allow him ample time to become acquainted with his squad before their next match, at St Mirren a fortnight today.
Nicholl has been assisted in training this week by full-back Alan Maybury, who since the summer has been doubling up as a coach with Hibs’ under-20 team. “Jimmy asked me to take some little bits and pieces,” Maybury explained yesterday.
“Under Pat I would work with the under-20s earlier in the week, but if he needed a different voice in training I would do some of the drills. So I’m just trying to help out Jimmy where I can. Nothing has changed.
“Jimmy was told at the start of the week he would be in charge for this game, so we knew from early in the week what was happening and we’ve prepared the same as we would normally.
“I’ve been through this quite a few times. You can waste a lot of time and energy worrying about things you have no control over. The chairman will ultimately decide who he wants to bring in. And whoever that is, they’ll decide what staff he will bring and who stays and who goes.”
One of the first tasks facing the new Hibs manager could be what response to make to the notice of complaint issued yesterday to Rowan Vine. The forward faces disciplinary action after posting “offensive comments on Twitter suggesting the use of violence”, according to the notice from SFA compliance officer Vincent Lunny.
Vine’s remarks, made after last month’s draw between his club and Celtic, were directed at Neil Lennon, who had called some of Hibs’ tackles “reckless” and “rugbyesque”. Vine has until 3pm next Friday to respond to the notice. The date for the hearing is 28 November.