After 23 years, I’m ready to be No. 1, insists Billy Brown

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BILLY BROWN today insisted he was ready for his first shot at being a manager after 23 years as Jim Jefferies’ assistant.

As he prepared to take charge of Hibs in tomorrow’s SPL clash with Kilmarnock in his role of caretaker boss, Brown revealed he wants the job for himself and has already been interviewed for the post.

But, although he turns 61 next month, Brown claimed spending so long as assistant to Jefferies – beginning at Berwick Rangers and encompassing spells at Falkirk, Hearts (twice), Bradford City and Kilmarnock – didn’t mean he lacked ambition.

He said: “When I started off with Jim I did not intend to be an assistant manager all that time. But every job I had a chance of getting was not as good as the job I was in at the time. I didn’t think it was a lack of ambition, I was always ambitious but there was never any bigger job I could get. Assistant manager at Hearts was a big job but now I have a chance of the manager of Hibs, it’s better than assistant manager at Hibs.”

Despite the passing years, Brown insisted he never felt he wouldn’t get the chance to be a manager in his own right one day and although he was Jefferies’ No. 2 for so long, he revealed he’d been “instrumental” in all the decisions made as a partnership.

While some may see the fact Brown has been placed in temporary control following the sacking of Colin Calderwood as giving him a head start on other candidates with Hibs claiming to have had more than 90 applications, he realises competition will be tough.

Bohemians boss Pat Fenlon is also believed to have been interviewed and although Hibs say they are drawing up a short list former Easter Road player Michael O’Neill, who has led Dublin-based Shamrock Rovers to back-to-back Airtricity League of Ireland titles, says he has not been approached.

Brown admitted he hasn’t been surprised at the number of applications despite the fact Hibs are seeking their fifth manager in just four years.

He said: “Hibs have gone through a few managers for different reasons, Tony Mowbray and John Collins left, for instance. But when you look round Scotland it’s one of the major jobs. I’m sure there will have been applicants from all over the world, I’m just banking that they get the wee boy from Musselburgh.”

Asked if he felt a win over Kilmarnock tomorrow would enhance his chances of becoming manager Brown retorted: “To think a job of this magnitude would be decided on one game is pitiful.

“Whether the team wins and plays well or is beaten and plays poorly you are there because you have certain attributes and one game cannot make them better or diminish them.”