Reflecting on a 2017 which has seen Hibs return to the Scottish Premiership following three years in the Championship, Dempster has outlined the next step for the ambitious Easter Road side.
The club’s director of football George Craig has undertaken a series of trips to see how Hibs can learn and develop including visits to the English Football Association’s Burton base St George’s Park, Brentford, Bournemouth, Bristol City and Derby.
However, it was Southampton – where Craig’s former Falkirk colleague, Ross Wilson, is director of football operations – with their joined-up thinking in terms of playing style and youth development, that most impressed the Hibs delegation.
“The thing we felt when we went down to Southampton in particular was everybody in the club knew what their goal was,” said Dempster. “Everyone knew where Southampton stood, the importance of the Academy, the importance of performance.
“They had an identity that was there, even from first few minutes of being at the training centre. Even little things like the branding, it was a club working in absolute concert. That’s what we are aspiring to, the idea of a club DNA. So that at some point in the future when me, George [Craig], Rod [Petrie], Neil [Lennon], Sir Tom [Farmer] it leaves the club with a good structure, a good skeleton that they can continue.
“It’s about performance culture. Southampton lose players and managers but have that stability. It’s not rocket science but just looking at it and having an environment and having someone at the centre driving, driving and driving.”